Bleam team mostly happy with accomplishments


Around this time last year, neon green-clad VIP Party supporters touted the promise of action over talk during their UI Student Government campaign.

One year after the VIP Party won the student election, UISG President Maison Bleam and Vice President Bridget Szeluga will finish their terms April 18. And the two said they are proud of what their administration has accomplished.

While Bleam and Szeluga’s team reached several of set goals, including dual printing at UI computers and 24-hour library access during finals, the duo admitted they didn’t fulfill all of their promises.

The VIP Party ran on four broad principles: centralization and increased information flow to students, removing obstacles and unnecessary bureaucracy in UISG, empowering and encouraging participation, and improving the quality of the student experience.

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One of their immediate accomplishments after taking office was opening the UI Main Library and IMU for 24 hours during finals week. Szeluga said this took effect in the spring of 2008, and she is glad it continued this year.

One of the issues she was most passionate about, she said, was the dual-printing initiative, which requires double-sided printing to be the default setting in campus libraries. The measure took effect this year, saving roughly 20,000 pages each day.

Bleam said his campaign also wanted to bring a new-release movie theater to the IMU, but after talking to Marcus Theaters, UISG officials realized it would be too expensive. Instead, the UISG partnered with the Campus Activities Board to bring movies to the Bijou before their release on DVD, he said.

The Bleam/Szeluga ticket wanted to increase safety and awareness on campus, starting with the “Think If You Drink” campaign, which involved printing pamphlets and bar napkins to warn students about the dangers of overconsumption.

Along with this safety initiative, the party also called for extended Cambus hours and routes, which Bleam said will take effect next year.

But officials admit they didn’t accomplish everything they promised, citing the flood and the firing of former Vice President for Student Services Phillip Jones as setbacks.

One of the unmet promises was to eliminate 7:30 a.m. classes. Bleam said the initiative became impossible when classroom space was lost during the flood, requiring available rooms to be used during more hours of the day.

The flood also affected the administration’s hope to install more lighting on Burlington Street.
Despite some setbacks, Provost Wallace Loh said he enjoyed working with this year’s administration, adding he met with them nearly every week.

“I think they are very thoughtful students who have the interest of all the students at heart,” he said.
Neither Bleam nor Szeluga will continue on UISG after this year. Szeluga plans to attend the University of Minnesota to get a master’s degree in art in human resources and industrial relations.

Bleam said he plans to study abroad this summer at the London School of Economics and return to take the LSAT in September before applying to law school.

Bleam shared a few words of advice for the incoming administration, whomever they will be.

“My advice is not to take UISG too seriously, but take it seriously enough that you’re getting the things you promised accomplished,” he said. “You’re going to win some, and you’re going to lose some. But you have to ignore all the haters and roll with the punches.”

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