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USG plans for an online Fall semester

Anacaona Rodriguez | The Ticker

Although this semester hasn’t been easy for students, USG President Tony Chen said opportunities can still present themselves virtually and advised students to search for benefits that could arise out of these current circumstances.

Likewise, USG advised students to not focus on the negative situation that the pandemic has put them in, but rather use this time to lean on and help one another.

A plethora of new and existing activities and events have been readapted online by USG to help students with online learning and enjoying this semester.

One goal for student government is focusing on mental health resources for students.

“My main focus is on mental health because I believe that this is what students really need right now,” Vice President of Student Affairs Yam-Yu Li said in an email interview with The Ticker. “My team and I strongly believe that mental health is something we should definitely put more focus on and educating others how to identify, provide proper moral support to one another and explore coping mechanisms.”

USG said it plans to work alongside PAWS, Team Baruch’s team of peers advocating for wellness services, the Office of Health and Wellness and the Counseling Center to help students talk about depression, anxiety and other health issues that might’ve arisen due to the pandemic. Additionally, they are also planning events to help students relax and destress.

“I’ve had my fair share of ‘bad’ days where I want to stay in my burrito blanket and never leave. And that’s okay! We need to start normalizing people having these ‘bad’ days and we need to start celebrating ourselves and giving ourselves the validation we deserve for our little wins,” Vice President of USG’s Clubs and Organizations committee Alison Lee said in an email interview with The Ticker.

The Clubs and Orgs. Committee wasn’t the only one to share ideas for the semester.

“I had a whirlwind of ideas spinning in my head for this year. I naively thought quarantine would be over by the time we went back to school,” Vice President of USG’s Philanthropy committee Osvaldo Garcia said of last semester. “The hardest part, and I think all clubs and organizations at Baruch can relate to this, was scrapping, and completely rescaling the events we had in mind.”

The Philanthropy Committee is planning in collaboration with USG’s Arts Committee to create an event that would bring students together through a holiday card initiative.

“We are planning to contact multiple nursing homes and finding the best, safest way to give cards to the elderly. We hope this brings a bit of holiday cheer into their lives at a time where they might feel lonely and isolated,” Garcia said in an email interview with The Ticker.

Other joint committee activities include playing virtual bingo, mafia and Kahoot. Similarly, Self- Care Saturdays and Self-Care Sundays are virtual events in which USG will provide activities like paint night, spa night, yoga or just a movie night.

To address the frustration some students have expressed this semester, USG said it plans to foster more open communication.

According to USG’s Executive Vice President, Briana Staten, they will be organizing and releasing more surveys and forms for students to express their immediate issues, concerns and questions they have. Students are also given the option to send them anonymously. Similarly, USG plans to market their weekly Zoom senate meetings more often.

Staten said she wants students to know “they have a place to go every week,” and added that students can expect a virtual weeklong homecoming, networking events and mentorship workshops.

Since some currently existing club events have been difficult to find, according to Lee, USG created a mass calendar.

Other issues that students have expressed have centered around online learning, so USG is currently working toward revamping Zoom learning and preventing Zoom bombers.

“USG has been working on certain protocols in order to avoid future issues, such as detailed tutorials for the professors to get a better understanding of the tools on Zoom,” Lee said.

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