by TAYLOR BRETHAUER, Editor-in-Chief
Student Government held their second assembly meeting of the semester on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 12 p.m. in Kelly 4B. The Cooper administration had the idea of assigning seats for voting members in order to pass out ballots and fill the front rows.
The meeting started with a brief talk with Nick Valinotti, the resident district manager of Gourmet Dining. He has worked his way up in the ranks of Gourmet Dining and with the recent departure of Brian Weinstein, Valinotti was promoted to his new title.
“I’ve been here the past seven years and I’ve worked my way up … I really look forward to working with everybody here. If you all need anything or have any suggestions, please feel free to reach out, I’m really responsive and I’ll take care of everybody here,” said Valinotti.
He spoke about updates coming to the dining areas on campus, including the fresh fruit and smoothie bar happening at Locke’s Loft that day. He then answered questions from students and handed out free Gourmet Dining coffee cards to the assembly members.
Budget Allocation Committee
There were two clubs presenting to the assembly after being approved by the BAC for their specific requests. The process is then to allow assembly members to vote on the exact allocation.
Representing the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) was senior Aaron Beinstein, who explained the conference to the assembly.
“We are asking for about $1500 to send two students to the the AIChE national conference in Pittsburgh. Largely why we want to go is to build our organization here,” said Beinstein.
Representing Society of Women Engineers (SWE) was senior Megan Haber, who explained their conference to the assembly.
“[Our conference] will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota. SWE has gone to conferences before … what happens at these conferences is there is a huge career fair … networking … and multiple lectures,” said Haber. The networking at these conferences allowed the group to bring to campus the #HeForSWE campaign.
The group asked for $2500 for six members and one advisor.
Vice president of finance, Ryan Kwiecinski, reminded the assembly of the procedures pertaining to advisors.
“Just for clarification purposes, through the Budget Allocation Committee we do not cover the cost of the advisor because the money from the [BAC] does come from the student activities fee so it is for student conferences only. Even if the advisor is going on the trip, the advisors are not included in our allocations and we make sure to calculate without the advisor,” said Kwiecinski. The BAC determined they would allocate $1700 for this request.
The assembly ruled in favor of giving the allocated budgets.
At that time, assembly member Liam Moran stood and began asking questions about the budget cuts. Director of student development, John Bennett, told him to save his questioning for the end of the assembly due to the packed schedule of presentations.
Resident Student Association
Vice president of residential affairs, Isabel Quinones, spoke about recent updates she had learned through the residence life office.
“I recently met with AJ Goodman and Dean Carey to get an update of what’s going on on campus. I have a good elevator update,” said Quinones.
There was an inspection over the summer months for each elevator shaft on campus. Quinones continued.
“The actual work on the Horan [Hall] elevators is scheduled to begin within the month. … By next fall, all elevators are expected to be fixed within the building. One elevator will be closed at a time,” said Quinones. The elevators will be completely replaced. This information came from Andrew Ryan, vice president of facilities.
There are also plans for renovation work to begin in Horan Hall, with a consultant visit planned for current and former resident students. The former resident students consist of those who became commuters or moved into local apartments after living on campus. Residence life has seen a decrease in on-campus living, from 98 percent last year to around 80 percent this year.
The blue light system was also addressed, a topic of discussion from the previous year brought up at assembly meetings often.
“We have 24 blue lights on campus. … It’s all online if you’re curious of the public safety measures that have been taken,” said Jaycie Cooper, student body president.
Presentations from ITS, Health Services and OrcaTV
Placed intermittently throughout the meeting were presentations for the assembly.
The first was from Information Technology Services (ITS) representatives Anita McCarthy, ITS training coordinator, and Richard Musal, director of client services and operations.
The two presented on the use of Web Print, Labseat and Google Jamboards, all resources students can use for printing, checking computer lab availability, presentations and studying, respectively.
The next presentation was from the new director of Health Services, Catherine Sharbaugh.
Sharbaugh has come from Haverford College in Haverford, Pa., and has many plans to make her office more approachable and accessible for all students.
“I’m the new sheriff in town … right off the bat, [after last year’s report] I hope I can encourage you all to get the flu vaccine,” said Sharbaugh.
She reminded students, especially with the upcoming cold season, to wipe down their cell phones and laptops, where germs can most commonly be found. This information, among others, will be introduced has part of a “health advisory committee”, a big plan of Sharbaugh’s upon her arrival to the college.
“I would love to get to know you all better, I’d love to get students on a health advisory committee and I really feel like I need to know what’s going on on this campus and do a little bit of assessment. I know there is lots of needs … we are student services and we want to get to know your needs,” said Sharbaugh.
She also plans to hold a “health fair” and begin moving all paper records to an online database, commonly referred to as an electronic medical record, or an EMR.
“I’m not saying that’s going to happen right now, I’ve just been here for a few weeks so far, but I’d really hope for that to happen and bring [the health service] into a more modern practice,” said Sharbaugh.
She reminded students to feel free to visit at any point during the school year and that Health Services can be found in their temporary location in Horan Hall rooms 218-220, Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The final presentation was from Daniel Aguirre, a senior representative from OrcaTV. The channel, which can be found on channel 3 on the College’s cable network, allows clubs and departments to advertise their events. This program went live last semester.
“Basically what we’re trying to do is to get everyone, especially student organizations and clubs on campus to promote themselves on campus and bridge the gap on campus. The gap being a lack of communication,” said Aguirre.
Aguirre encouraged students to utilize the service in order to boost the service’s usage. More information can be found at manhattan.orcatv.com.
Returning to the topic brought up earlier by Moran on budget cuts, Cooper was able to explain to the assembly the information they had received over the summer.
“We had the budget cuts because men’s rowing became a club. So, their money could no longer come from athletics because Title IX says that you have to have even mens and womens teams or it’s against federal law. In order for men’s rowing to proceed on campus, they would have to become a club. We were hit with a roughly $77,000 allocation that we had to make up in our budget,” said Cooper.
Kwiecinski then added onto her comment.
“Essentially, we were told to cut budgets across the board by 11.6 percent. Every organization on campus, no matter how old your club was, no matter what your budget was previously, whether it was something like Quadchella, Spring Fest or conferences, all of that was cut. Anything that falls under the student activity [fee] was cut by that 11.6 percent across the board. There was no favoritism and there was an email sent out in June notifying students that this would occur,” said Kwiecinski.
Moran then asked how to prevent a situation like this in the future. In the end, it was decided that a resolution to student government’s constitution could be brought up to the college’s senate.
At that time, Bennett, from where he was observing the meeting, chimed in.
“We are your representatives and speak on behalf of you guys, we go to bat for you. It was handed down to us as a mandate after the whole budget process had happened. You’re preaching to the choir and we understand everything that is being voiced now we have been hearing since the summer. We are trying to see if we can get additional funding,” said Bennett.
He also mentioned that there was been a club freeze since the spring semester so there are no new clubs taking more funding than the already reduced budgets.
After ten minutes of discussion, Moran then suggested the discussion to be tabled until the next meeting. The minutes were accepted by the assembly and the meeting was adjourned.
The next assembly meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. in Kelly 5B.