Members of MCSG address food insecurity, mental health and Macalester’s financial model

Members of MCSG address food insecurity, mental health and Macalester’s financial model

Emma Salomon, Contributing Writer

The Macalester Student Government (MCSG) discussed progress in their committees relating to food insecurity and mental health and heard a presentation on the strategic plan financial model. The Legislative Body (LB) also reviewed and edited its bylaws for the upcoming year. 

The dining and food security ad hoc committee announced changes to Cafe Mac to help Macalester students with food insecurity. Cafe Mac has extended breakfast hours to 10:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, made whole fruits available at the salad bar, made Plant Forward fully vegan, added More Plants, a vegan protein station behind the grill and ordered a new soft serve machine. The LB enthusiastically applauded at this last point.

The Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) is working towards reinstating wellness days or something similar to help with students’ mental health. Community Engagement Officer Ayana Smith-Kooiman ’22* spoke to the issue at the meeting.

“The real issue is that there is a culture and climate on this campus that feeds into … burnout … [a solution is] creating policies that result in more accessible and equitable flexibility,” Smith-Kooiman said.

Director of Institutional Research Bethany Miller presented on the Macalester Financial Model. Miller aims to help build Macalester students’ understanding of their financial model and generate a discussion around the strategic planning process. 

The LB raised questions about the reallocation of grants and why 5% of the endowment is used each year. Miller told the LB it is illegal to reallocate funds from grants and thus they are unable to utilize funds for anything other than its intended purpose. The endowment is not used to a higher extent so the college can save and invest what Miller said was the proper amount.

Miller encouraged community members to go to the two Q&As for the financial model on Oct. 27 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Oct. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Zoom.

“We encourage and welcome students to read the document and participate in open sessions in their chances to ask clarifying questions, contribute opinions and what you think should change about the financial model,” Miller said.

At the Q&A session, students can have their comments, questions and concerns addressed. Their insights, Miller said, will directly influence Macalester’s financial plan.

The LB then turned to a discussion of its bylaws. The LB edits the bylaws annually, however, due to COVID last year, the process was shortened. This meeting, the LB spent a lot of time deliberating changes to the 35 pages of the bylaws.

The LB added a new article but did not discuss it during this week’s meeting. It addresses MCSG’s commitment against discrimination and hate speech which was written in response to the recent election violation and subsequent disqualification of Daryll Seneque ’23. This article must still be reviewed by Macalester’s legal team to be considered for approval. The voting of all the bylaws changes will not take place until the next MCSG meeting. 

The meeting ended with the LB approving MCSG not meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 19 before fall break and Tuesday, Nov. 23.

*Ayana Smith-Kooiman is a Web Editor for The Mac Weekly.