Without even realizing it, many Michigan State University undergraduate students are being provided with free services every day.
The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU), MSU’s undergraduate student government, is constantly creating programs such as free I-clicker rentals, free laundry, free newspapers and many more programs that are intended to make the life of Michigan State students easier and cheaper.
Michael Mozina, Vice President for Finance & Operations of ASMSU, is in charge of maintaining and creating all of the services that ASMSU offers.
“All of the services ASMSU provides that are paid through our yearly fiscal budget is funded through an $18 tax that is assessed to each undergraduate student at the beginning of the semester,” Mozina said.
Junior fine arts major Chris Ulrich said he supports the ASMSU tax.
“I think the tax is a good thing, because without realizing it students would be spending more than $18 over the course of a semester if they had to pay for the individual services,” he said.
Ulrich said “It is the students fault if they don’t take advantage of it.”
Brett Brothers, a sophomore food science major, said he agreed with Ulrich.
“Eighteen dollars is not very much money considering what is being offered,” he said. “Students should use the services because they are meant to be very beneficial to them.”
ASMSU President Kiran Samra is in charge of managing and coordinating with all of the department heads that ASMSU has, including overseeing all of the free services that are created
The services that are created by ASMSU are available for all tax-paying undergraduate students, said Samra.
“ASMSU has so many free services for undergraduate students on campus. From free legal services and blue books to our campus wide readership program, ASMSU offers students a wide variety of services—there’s something for everyone,” she said via email.
Sophomore physics major Jake Evasic said free laundry is his favorite service offered by ASMSU.
“It was like the university was sucking the money out of me by making me pay for laundry,” he said. “It excited me when I heard laundry was going to be free this year.”
Lucas Robbins, a sophomore packaging major, said he enjoys the I-clicker rental service.
“If I had to buy an I-clicker for $80 it would have been very inconvenient, and a drain on my already insignificant resources,” he said.
Mozine said the free services offered by ASMSU are generally well received among students.
“Normally from the students that utilize our services the written feedback we get from surveys we distribute are largely positive,” she said via email.
While many students take advantage of and enjoy the free services that are offered by ASMSU, they may not be aware that ASMSU is the one providing them.
“We’re confident we reach students, we just need to make sure they understand what we are and how we are of value to them,” Samra said via email.
ASMSU promotes itself using events like Sparticipation as well as using social media promotions through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Mozina said via email. They also take out ads in the State News occasionally.
Robbins said that he heard about ASMSU just from word of mouth, and that he only looks at the events for the University Activities Board (UAB), because they advertise more in the residence halls with table tents in the cafeterias and posters in the halls.
Evasic said that he uses the free laundry all the time, but when asked what organization created the free laundry program he said he thought it was the UAB.
“Being realistic I think 70-plus percent of students have at least seen or utilized one of our services, most likely picking up a free newspaper, but as far as how many students are aware of all of our services and know they are offered through ASMSU, I would say the number is a lot lower, closer to 15-20 percent,” Mozina said.
Mozina said with recognition being a problem for ASMSU, he believes that as ASMSU creates new programs that catch students’ attention, more and more students will be introduced to ASMSU, as well as the rest of the services they offer.
Samra said there is a plan to make ASMSU’s services better known on campus through more grassroots marketing. She said an example of this is ASMSU might look to hold public forum meetings for students when it gets close to ASMSU election time to raise student awareness about it.
Blair Pitcairn, a senior majoring in hospitality business said he believes this initiative would be very important for ASMSU.
“It would help going to residence halls, and to have events for the residents that inform them about the services, and the organization,” he said.
“I think that ASMSU should give out free tee-shirts, lanyards, and other informational items during Academic Orientation Programs, so that freshman can learn about ASMSU and all the services they offer at the start of college in order to take full advantage of them,” said Robbins.