Student gov’t advocates for hybrid learning, plant-based dining options

The Student Government Assembly discussed the next chairperson election and addressed the university’s inadequate mental health services during its meeting on March 31.

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Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Lauren Ashe, Senior Staff Writer

The Student Government Assembly announced its potential candidates for the next SGA chair, passed a resolution to provide plant-based meals on campus, spoke about improving the university’s mental health resources and advocated to continue hybrid classes during its sixth meeting of the semester on March 31.

Anthony Cruz, the chair of the Chair Elections Reform Committee, Shawn Thibault, the NYU Law senator, and Ron Hall, the College of Arts & Science senator, were announced as candidates for the next SGA chair — the main spokesperson for the student government. The chairperson election is scheduled for the student government’s next meeting on Thursday, April 7.

Jacqueline Moy, the chair of the Student Senators Council’s Sustainability Committee, proposed a partnership with Greener by Default, a company that provides complimentary guidance on plant-based food options to universities. The resolution passed with a majority vote.

“There’s a significant amount of college students that are eating plant-based food,” Moy said. “It makes it more inclusive for dietary restrictions and religious restrictions as well.”

The initiative will start with student government events, and the SGA hopes to extend the program to departments, schools and student organizations. Tina Panda, president of the Sophomore Class Activities Board ’24, said the resolution would provide more resources for students who identify as Jains, a religious group in which most members follow strict dietary restrictions.

The Academic Affairs Committee asked for a report of the university’s mental health services, citing the difference in care that students receive and information being reported by the university. According to Beck, there has been a 300% to 400% increase in demand for NYU’s mental health services. The university has also lost 20 staff members who provided mental health services to students and faculty due to the pandemic, which has led to long wait times for general therapy appointments.

“The system was sitting at about six weeks, which is a very long time,” Beck said. “That’s half your semester, so if you’re waiting for mental health services, that’s unbearable.”

The Academic Affairs Committee also discussed the continuation of hybrid classes. Beck said that some deans and members of the committee have resisted the extension of hybrid options, saying it does not align with the university’s academic values and requires additional class planning by professors. She pushed for a university-wide decision on the issue.

“In my constituency, this could possibly cut out a lot of the services that are needed when there’s any type of chronic illness or when somebody has a disability,” Beck said.

Contact Lauren Ashe at [email protected]