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November 17, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-17

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4A - Wednesday, November17, 2010 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.con

e 1*iiigan 0aUhj
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vote to expand Blue Bucks





Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
E- collaboration
Technology overhaul must facilitate learning
ampus is about to get an upgrade. Early this fall, the Uni-
versity's IT Steering Committee announced it would over-
haul the campus communication system. Last week, the
LSA Student Government passed a resolution to endorse Google
over Microsoft for the University's new Information Technology
collaborative service. The resolution was passed after a thought-
ful and informed discussion among student representatives who
attended presentations given by both bidders. The University's pro-
cess to choose a collaborate partner should result in a technology
service that meets the needs of students by providing them with the

The Blue Bucks system is a University program that
allows students to add money to their student account for
use at off-campus dining venues. Systems similar to this
can be found at universities across the country. The only
difference between the University of Michigan and peer
institutions is the significantly fewer options that our stu-
dents have when using Blue Bucks. Recently, LSA Student
Government members traveled to three schools in Ohio to
tour their unions and recreation centers. All three of the
schools had a system similar to Blue Bucks, but unlike the
University, each school had multiple off-campus venues
that accepted the Blue Bucks equivalent. One school even
had a local grocery store that accepted the currency.
Expanding Blue Bucks has been a project that LSA Stu-
dent Government has worked on for many semesters. As
LSA-SG representatives, it's our duty to fight for student
rights. Since dining halls are closed on Saturday nights,
students must eat at off-campus venues. But they have
limited options when picking a place to eat. It would be
nice if these students did not have to go to the Michigan
Union, Pierpont Commons or the Michigan League week
after week to eat dinner.
And expanding Blue Bucks to more off-campus dining
venues would benefit students by providing them with
healthy alternatives to dining at University unions. Many
of the dining options in the unions aren't very healthy.
Expanding Blue Bucks to more off-campus dining venues
will not only provide more options to students overall, but
healthier options as well.
Restaurants and other venues across campus have been
resistant to the idea because they fear a loss in profit. Ifa

restaurant accepts Blue Bucks, they have to give part o
their profit back to the University. This concern, althoug
valid, is unproven.
Now, LSA-SG is taking a new approach. We are poll
ing the LSA student body through our student gov
ernment ballot questions to determine the projected
increase in off-campus dining by students if Blue Buck,
were accepted at more venues. The question is two-fold
The first part asks how many times students currentl3
eat at off-campus venues per week. The second par
asks how many more times students would eat at off
campus venues per week if Blue Bucks were accepte
more widely. This will allow us to see if there would
be an actual increase in off-campus eating. If the datd
shows an increase, we can take the results to local res-
taurants and prove to them that accepting Blue Bucks is
a smart business decision.
We recognize that there are other factors that musl
be considered before actively pursuing this project, such
as the loss of revenue for University Unions and dining
halls. But we cannot make any headway on this project
without the student voice. Please vote for your studen
government representatives, but also vote on the Blue
Bucks ballot question. Your responses can help LSA-SG
make progress in getting this changed. Let's catch up to
other schools in the country by expanding our Blue Bucks
to many more off-campus dining venues.
Steven Benson is the LSA-SG president, Caroline
Canning is the LSA-SG Student Life Committee chair
and Carly Goldberg is the LSA-SG vice president.


Vote to improve LSA Course Guide

best available educational tools.
Since September, the IT Steering Com-
mittee has been planning a new collabora-
tive technology program. It decided it was
going to revamp campus's communication
system to improve the system's cohesion
and address problems in calendaring and
e-mail services. After a survey of the cam-
pus community by the IT Steering Com-
mittee, the choices for the company to
execute this overhaul were narrowed down
to Microsoft and Google. On Nov. 10, LSA-
SG passed a resolution endorsing Google as
the University's new collaborative technol-
ogy partner. Eleven members voted for the
resolution. Seven members abstained. inan
interview last week with the Daily, Univer-
sity spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said a deci-
sion on which company will be chosen is
likely to be made before the end of 2010.
The best news is that no matter who
loses, students will win. A redesign and
streamlining of the system, regardless of
whether it's done by Google or Microsoft,
will facilitate collaboration and studying
for students. Microsoft's Windows Life@
EDU service combines social networking,
e-mail and university resources into one
web application. This could help students
be more productive by simultaneously
granting access to many different study
resources. On the other hand, Google offers
Google Product Suite, a program similar to
Google Documents that may make working
in groups less of a burden by allowing stu-
dents to share information securely.

It's encouraging that the IT Steering
Committee took the opinions of students
and faculty members into consideration
when narrowing down the bidders for its
new partner. Often, University decisions
are made without consulting students and
faculty, which makes the University seem
aloof and disconnected. The Steering Com-
mittee's actions give the campus commu-
nity input on a choosing a services provider
that everyone will have to use.
LSA-SG's contribution to the system
change had a thoughtful decision-making
process behind its endorsement. Student
representatives took multiple points of
view into account and considered the pros
and cons of both Microsoft and Google
with one goal in mind: helping students.
This reflects a investment in representing
students' needs to the University admin-
istration, which should be the function of
a student government. LSA-SG has set an
example for other student governments
that will hopefully lead to progress in
efforts like the Open Housing Initiative
and more productive interactions with the
Ann Arbor City Council.
Better information technology collabora-
tion services will lead to better learning for
students and easier teaching and research
cooperation for professors. The steering
committee has facilitated an open decision-
making process and should continue to be
receptive to the campus community's input
until the final decision is made.

In the Student Government elections being held today
and tomorrow, the College of Literature, Science, and the
Arts Student Government (LSA-SG) hopes you will take a
few minutes of your time to vote for the candidates run-
ning to be your student representatives for the next 12
months. In addition to voting on candidates, we hope you,
as LSA students, will also vote on several ballot questions
regarding potential changes to the LSA Course Guide and
a new exam policy.
LSA-SG knows how much students rely on the LSA
Course Guide to determine which courses to take. Keep-
ing this in mind, we feel it may be beneficial for students
to know more details about the course in addition to the
information currently provided. By voting on this ballot
question, LSA-SG will have tangible data to present to the
Dean and Executive Committee of LSA, and allow us to
lobby for improvements to the LSA Course Guide. LSA-
SG has received numerous complaints that there are no
syllabi available to students selecting courses. Adding
a draft or example syllabus would allow students to see
specific course expectations, and really know what topics
will be covered in that class.
Another improvement to the LSA Course Guide could
be utilizing keyword tags (i.e. searchable keywords/
phrases) to search for classes. While the LSA Course
Guide can already be searched by department, require-
ments, and other aspects, it would be even more beneficial
to search for a course that covers topics such as "sustain-
ability," "journalism," or "business" (just to name a few
potential keywords).
outside of increasing the information describing each
course, LSA-SG hopes to include final examination infor-
mation (date and time) in the course guide. Presenting
final exam information when browsing potential classes
could help students better plan their finals schedules,
allow students to stack and spread their exams as they so
choose, and give students an opportunity to arrange ear-
lier vacation and travel times if they wish. Of course, you
may feel that having this information - or other potential
additions to the LSA Course Guide- might not be useful
to you in selecting your courses, in which case please vote
in amanner that demonstrates this to LSA SG.
Also, on the ballot you will find a question regarding

a policy that concerns holding exams on national elec-
tion days. This question will allow you to vote to discour-
age instructors from giving in-class exams on national
election days. During national election days, polls are
typically open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, which should
allow time for students to vote. However, because of class
scheduling, long lines at one's designated pollingstation,
and the inability for first-time voters to obtain an absen-
tee ballot, national election days may fall at a time that is
disadvantageous for some, due to an exam held the same
day. While a student could speak with his orher instruc-
tor in advance tobe excused from a lecture or discussion
to go vote, a student, even with advance notice, would
likely be unable to miss or arrive late to a class with a
planned in-class exam. Also, by not having an exam on
a national election day, students may feel more inclined
to educate themselves of the candidates' platforms and
any state or local proposals on the ballot. LSA SG feels
that one's academic development and civic engagement
are important aspects of being a University of Michigan
student, and hopes you will support a policy which will
dissuade instructors from holding exams on national
election days.
Online, you will find these and other ballot questions
that may provide students with valuable information
about different courses. LSA SG would like to under-
stand which pieces of information would be most use-
ful to students in choosing their courses, and will take
action in accordance with the results to advocate for
these enhancements to the LSA Course Guide. By voting
on these questions, you have the opportunity to influence
the interface that you and your fellow students use, and
therefore directly improve the LSA Course Guide.
The ballot questions can be found on the Fall 2010 LSA
Student Government Election ballot at vote.umich.edu.
Again, LSA students will be able to answer these ballot
questions as well as vote for their LSA SG Representatives
from now until tomorrow, Thursday, November 18 at 11:59
PM. Thanks for voting and Go Blue!
This viewpoint was written by Christopher Luoma,
Stephen Ratkovich and Jeffrey Wojcik on behalf of
the LSA-SG Academic Affairs Committee.



Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt,
Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata,
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Teddy Papes, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin,
Roger Sauerhaft, Asa Smith, Laura Veith, Andrew Weiner



MVP has record of results

MForward will affect change

There are student government elections happen-
ing this week - but has anyone noticed? The relative
quiet of the Michigan Student Assembly this year is
extremely disconcerting. Under the leadership of
MForward, MSA has, well, not gone forward. It is
time for change once again, and the Michigan Vision
Party has proven itself to be an agent of change on
this campus.
Last year by this time, the MVP administration
had overseen the beginnings of a new all-campus
constitution, a hugely successful Campus Leader-
ship Colloquium featuring prominent Michigan
alums and student leaders, a plan for Go Blue Beat
OSU Week and a reform to MSA rules so that the
body would focus on student issues. For the first
time in a long time, students could often read some-
thing interesting about MSA in the Daily and saw
things happening around campus.
Looking at MFoward's list of accomplishments, it
just doesn't compare to MVP's work.
MForward's viewpoint in the Daily last week fea-
tured a few of these "achievements" (Keep electing
Myorward, 11/08/2010). They have met with the Ann
Arbor Police Department to inquire about noise and
trash citations. Unfortunately, they failed to produce
any tangible results for students. They delayed the
Ann Arbor City Council vote on the porch couch
ban. Unfortunately, they failed to influence the ulti-
mate outcome of that issue as well. An open housing
initiative? That is a good project, we agree. It's doing
a lot of good for both the University's reputation and
its practices. But it is one single project for an assem-
bly that is supposed to be full of change-makers and
people who were elected for a specific purpose.

Meanwhile, MVP comes intothe fall electionswith
a renewed focus. Unlike previous parties that have fal-
tered when faced with difficulty or even defeat, MVP
has stayed true to its original purpose, which was to
raise voter turnout, increase awareness of campus
issues, focus on helping students and reform MSA to
make it more effective. In every single election since
MVP was created, voter turnout has increased. This
year, even with a lim-
ited presence on MSA,
MVP has continued to
work hard on campus-
wide issues including
Saturday night dining The polls to ele
(one of MForward's
campaign promises), Assembly repre
student group fund- midnight. MVP
ing, communication,
sportsmanship and the two major pa
human block 'M' in
Michigan Stadium at why they d
football games.
Looking at MSA,
students deserve more
than what they are
getting now. The potential is there, but turning that
potential into action has yet to fully occur. Small
things are being done here and there, but MSA needs
a jolt and a reminder that students aren't satisfied
with a complacentbody. That jolt should be the mem-
bers of MVP who are guaranteed to re-energize MSA.
This viewpoint was written by Tom Stuckey
on behalf of the Michigan Vision Party.

ct Mi

Today marks the beginning of fall elections for
the Michigan Student Assembly. You, the students,
have an important opportunity to elect individuals
to represent your needs and interests.
Throughout the campaign, MForward has been
working diligently to reach students in every cor-
ner of campus to talk about student government
and our plans to improve the quality of life for every
student at this univer-
sity. We understand
the role of student
government and its
unique purpose on this
chigan Student campus. We under-
stand that the current
Ltives opened at level of production
MForward, the from the assembly is
unacceptable and has
square off on been in the past. This
is why MForward has
e your vote. been tirelessly striving
to make improvements
since you elected us
last spring.
The central theme
of MForward is ideas, action and community.
We believe that these are the three fundamental
principles on which MSA was founded. MSA is
designed to provide the resources that are essen-
tial to students' academic and social success. It
should be the hub for innovation that directly
impacts students on this campus. In addition, MSA
is charged with the responsibility of advocating on
behalf of the students while protecting their rights
and privileges. It should prevent any acts that may
adversely affect them. Lastly, MSA was created to
serve as a central location to preserve the unique
and culturally rich university community that sets
Michigan apart from other academic institutions.
This is why MForward is leading the initiative to

implement open housing, a policy reform that will
give all students the freedom to choose the dynam-
ics of their living conditions. As financially contribut-
ing members of the University community, students
deserve to have the opportunity to choose who we
live with. MForward is working to make that happen.
We are committed to resolving the problems
that directly affect the lives of students, which
is what motivated other MForward members to
begin working with the Ann Arbor City Council to
pass a resolution that will prevent the widespread
and unchecked use of surveillance cameras and
encourage police to carefully gauge the need for
surveillance in high-crime areas.
In addition, cuts to the Ginsberg Center's budget
has forced the center to get rid of its Transporta-
tion Coordinator. The center no longer has the
administrative capacity to provide transportation
services for several student organizations that
provide invaluable service to the surrounding met-
ropolitan community, making transportation for
community service organizations more difficult.
MForward members have identified this asa major
issue and are currently working with Parking and
Transportation Services to restore this service for
student organizations.
These are the types of issues that MForward is
striving to resolve. If you want a student govern-
ment that is serious about serving you, I encourage
you to vote MForward. If you are fed up with the
lack of substantive results from MSA, I encour-
age you to vote MForward. And if you're ready for
a student government that will move this campus
forward with real ideas, successful action and deep
regard and engagement with the studentbody con-
sistently throughout the school year, you need to
vote MForward.
This viewpoint was written by DeAndree
Watson on behalf of MForward.

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