MCSG Overseer: LB approves committee to address food insecurity

Hannah Catlin, News Editor

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This week’s MCSG meeting was the first for the recently-elected members of the Legislative Body (LB). 

At the start of the meeting, MCSG faculty advisor and Associate Dean of Students Andrew Wells conducted a brief training on parliamentary procedure and MCSG policy.

Next, Student Organization Committee (SOC) member Jason Kohn ’20 presented several proposals to address food insecurity at Macalester.

The first asks Bon Appétit and business services to ensure that food options remain available during all school breaks. During spring break, for example, there are currently no options for students to use meal swipes to purchase food on campus.

Second, he proposed bringing a meal swipe donation program to campus. This would allow students to pool their unwanted meal swipes into a group so they can be redistributed to students who need them — regardless of whether the recipient is on the meal plan.

Carleton has a program similar to this run by Bon Appétit on their campus.

“It is a feasible program that we can start,” Kohn said. “It’s just a matter of pressuring administration to provide the funds for it.”

After Kohn’s presentation, the floor opened for questions from the LB.

“I’m curious as to the donation aspect of it,” junior class rep. Em Hayward ’21 said. “How that will be treated with the most discretion if needed? I worry about individuals feeling uncomfortable asking for help with the concern of who is going to know.”

Kohn responded that while the LB would likely collect the donations, Macalester staff would then distribute the donated meal swipes to students who need them. Kohn guessed that this would probably fall to the financial aid office.

Following this conversation, Interim Speaker of the LB Karinna Gerhardt ’20 invited a motion to form an ad hoc committee for food security projects. The LB voted unanimously to form the committee.

The LB then considered travel requests from High Power Rocketry and Climbing Club. Travel budgeting usually falls to the travel committee, but that committee is currently vacant. The LB approved both requests.

Next, representatives nominated candidates for speaker of the LB. Gerhardt, Hayward and Kohn each received a nomination, and the vote for the speakership will take place at next week’s meeting.

Finally, Gerhardt proposed forming an ad hoc committee to discuss the possibility of anonymously surveying students about their experiences receiving academic accommodations through Disability Services.

“I’ve heard anecdotally that the system is lacking in a lot of ways,” Gerhardt said.

Members of the LB questioned her about this idea.

“I’m curious about your goal for this survey,” Hayward said. “Is it to make accommodations more accessible or just to learn about current issues with the process?”

Gerhardt said she hoped to present the information to Disability Services and Facilities Services as they work to make the campus more accessible.

Ayaa Asoba ’22 asked whether the whole student body would receive this survey, or just those already receiving accommodations. Gerhardt said this would likely be a question answered by the committee.

The LB voted unanimously to form the ad hoc committee.