Rutgers University Student Assembly releases Fall 2019 report

Jhanvi Virani, the Rutgers University Student Assembly’s president, released the report on Tuesday and explained the initiatives from the Fall 2019 semester.
Photo by Courtesy of Jhanvi ViraniJhanvi Virani, the Rutgers University Student Assembly’s president, released the report on Tuesday and explained the initiatives from the Fall 2019 semester.

The Rutgers University Student Assembly released its report for the Fall 2019 semester, which highlights the initiatives it worked on as well as some potential plans for spring 2020. 

In the document, Jhanvi Virani, the Assembly's President, said it focused on gathering student input as well as communicating the thoughts of administrators in an overall effort to expand the Assembly’s work.

“We launched and funded several projects of our own,” Virani said in the report. “We’ve even enacted internal protocol changes to optimize (the Assembly's) project output, giving us the room to pump out more events, more advocacy efforts and more programs.”

One of the Assembly’s goals moving forward is to increase transparency in regards to funding student organizations, according to the report. The Allocations Process Transparency Act was enacted, meaning the Assembly will release detailed information on its funding process in order to help organizations request funding. 

The Assembly’s Academic Affairs Committee has been working on different ways to reduce the costs of attending Rutgers, according to the report. It began looking into a placement test program so students can opt out of introductory-level courses at Rutgers. This program would be designed to help students who were unable to obtain college credit in high school through programs like the Advanced Placement tests, according to the report. 

The committee is also looking at free alternatives to iClickers and expanding career services. 

The Assembly’s Student Affairs Committee reported holding a variety of town hall events in the Fall 2019 semester, including one on diversity and one with the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD). 

The Student Affairs Committee also partnered with the University Affairs Committee to advocate for student input when hiring RUPD officers. 

“Starting spring 2020, the Community Oriented Review Board (CORB), a hiring panel for officer candidates, will have one student representative chosen by the United Black Council, one chosen by the Latino Student Council and one chosen by (the Assembly),” according to the report. 

The University Affairs Committee is also working on environmental initiatives, such as the introduction of electric scooters and the reduction of plastics on campus. The committee also implemented an initiative to help food insecure students by allowing others to donate extra guest meal swipes. These swipes will be distributed this semester, according to the report. 

With the recent closure of campus convenience stores and pharmacies, the Health and Wellness Committee is looking into alternative ways to make basic health products more accessible, according to the report. It is also conducting research in conjunction with the student governments from the rest of the Big Ten Conference to better assess the state of mental health on campus. 

The Assembly’s Sexual Violence Education Committee reported holding tabling events to share resources with students, phone banking events to advocate for state legislation and a collaboration with Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance to raise awareness through a video series coming this semester. 

Virani and Vice President Aneesh Deshpande worked on their own initiatives, including the introduction of interns in the Assembly, advocating for a new financial aid program called “Income Share Agreement” which would prevent students from accumulating major debt and advocating for a fund to help finance students participating in unpaid or underpaid internships. 

The Assembly also held a variety of outreach programs to get student feedback throughout the semester and will work on the suggestions they have received, according to the report.