On Wednesday, March 24, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) started the meeting by taking a moment of silence to recognize the loss of Jules Joosten, a student who passed away on Tuesday night.
SA followed up with a discussion on student’s well-being and mental health on campus, then introduced a resolution to support student organizations returning to in-person meetings.
In light of the loss of Jules Joosten, Senator for Students for Sustainability Andrew Ericson asked, “What can we do to bring a smile to student’s faces?”
Many ideas were brought up in response to this question. Some people suggested helping students become more aware of resources on campus by checking in on students in the residence halls and sharing resource opportunities.
They also talked about the possibility of having positive and uplifting messages on and around campus, such as signs, chalk, or even sticky notes. SA recognizes that college is difficult and amidst a pandemic can make it very challenging. They want to work to help spread some positivity and hope on campus to combat some struggles that students may be facing.
SA also presented a resolution in support of student organizations meeting in person as long as they abide by COVID-19 guidelines. In the summer of 2020, this restriction was put in place by SA and was then extended throughout the fall semester. SA never extended this restriction for the spring semester of 2021, but The COVE originally sent out an email placing these restrictions this semester.
This is simply a statement of support for the campus to allow meetings in person and nothing has been decided yet. The meetings would have to follow COVID-19 guidelines and there would be sanctions put in place if an organization failed to meet these. Director of University Centers Kyle Burke said, “There are going to be checks and balances to make sure rules are being followed and we are trying to make it so the organization advisor isn’t required to attend.”
SA’s argument for why this is important and needs to be considered was brought up by SA President Cate Wiza who said, “It’s a matter of fairness, student-athletes have been able to practice this semester so student organizations should be granted the same opportunity.” She also brought up how important networking is for college students and being able to meet in person will be able to bring back this aspect of the college experience.
This resolution will be discussed again in the next meeting. Burke will also keep progressing with the faculty and administration to give student organizations as many opportunities as possible.
SA had mayoral candidate Mitch Reynolds come on as a guest speaker during the meeting. He came to talk to students to get their perspectives and questions as well as explain his platform and goals for the city of La Crosse. He is a graduate of UWL and has lived in La Crosse for 26 years since then and raised his children here as well. He currently is an operational manager at whole tress structures which is sustainable and women owned.
Reynolds said, “I am running for mayor because I feel it is incredibly important to make sure that those who traditionally don’t have a voice in our community have a voice, I am looking to empower diverse voices in our community, I want to make sure that those who sleep on the streets at night have a voice and want to make sure that we are advocating for all of our marginalized and vulnerable communities in our city.”
Reynolds said there is a need to include diversity and make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity. His goal is to ensure this for everyone through different policies that focus on justice in the community if he were to be elected.
One of the topics he brought up was his plan to work towards ending homelessness in La Crosse by implementing a housing-first policy within the city so that the homeless population can find a home. Reynolds wants to be able to give people a home so that they can then focus on the other areas of their lives that need help. He said, “I want to ensure that there is equal opportunity for everyone and make sure everyone has the same opportunities that I had.”