BY CORIE LYNN
This semester, FHSU’s Student Government Association has hosted faculty guest speakers from campus as a way to answer student questions. During their Thursday meeting, the university’s General Council Joe Bain and Vice President for Administration and Finance Mike Barnett joined the roster of guests.
Bain, a former member of the Kansas Board of Regents, began his time by explaining his position at FHSU, including his role in the Critical Incident Policy Group.
This group, which has been very active since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, meets to make response plans. Bain advises this group as they move forward with plans and policies.
In addition to explaining his role at FHSU, he also answered questions on how he balanced university needs with risk and why he returned to the university following his time at KBOR.
The most prevalent question, however, was for an update on the university’s COVID-19 surveillance testing, which has the Student Health Center testing various groups of campus staff and students to monitor the prevalence of the virus on campus.
According to Bain, the first round of testing involved 17 staff and students with no one testing positive. The latest round tested 18 individuals and had one positive result.
The questions posed to Barnett focused on FHSU’s financial standing. Because of this, he explained how the partnership with China is economically beneficial for the university and whether its plan to increase revenue by 5% was still on schedule.
According to Barnett, the university originally began the partnership with Sias and Shenyang Normal University as an alternative to increasing tuition. While establishing a strong relationship with the universities, the growth has allowed FHSU to offset campus expenses.
Answering the second question, he stated that the university is in the second year of the 5% revenue plan.
With an enrollment decline caused by the pandemic, the university has not been able to maintain the year-two plans for revenue increase. However, because of its already strong financial position of the university, this has not been detrimental to the institution.
Thanking the faculty for their time, the SGA then moved into their weekly reports.
President Haley Reiter informed the Student Senate that the Student Emergency Assistance fund, which is still accepting applications, allocated $525 to two students.
In addition, she said that she sat in on a student health insurance committee and that Student Engagement reached out to say that they have free t-shirts, masks and additional items available to students in their office.
Both she and Vice President Bryson Homman took this time to explain that they would like to continue to bring guest speakers from across campus to the weekly meeting.
According to the latter, this will include another visit from FHSU Provost Dr. Jill Arensdorf, though he has other speakers in mind as well.
Following this, he reminded the student senators that the organization has several seats open and available. Students interested in participating in SGA may apply for a position on Tiger Link.
With less than two weeks left to register to vote, Legislative Affairs Director Crystal Rojas reminded the group to do so and to apply for an absentee ballot if need be. In addition, she informed them that the FAFSA and FHSU scholarship applications are now open for the next school year.
The final report came from Community Relations Director Jayden Siebert, whose plans for the Big Event in Spring are underway. She asked that any senator interested in helping contact her so that she can begin to form the event committee.
The last reports came from the Legislative & Political Action and the Student Relations & Involvement Committees.
The former met to discuss voting in the upcoming presidential election and voting efforts, while the latter began planning a virtual event that the SGA would host for students.
Before moving into the Open Forum, the organization swore in two new student senators.
There was little discussion during Open Forum, though Senator Katie Modlin did ask whether out-of-state students would have access to the Kelly Center counseling services should FHSU once again send students home.
Dr. Clounch, a faculty advisor to the SGA, explained that the unavailability of counseling services to out-of-state students comes from licensing restrictions rather than unwillingness. Because of this, Kelly Center counselors will work with students to find and utilize resources in their community should they need to return to their homes.
Both the new and old business portions of the meeting involved bills for new student senators. Two were passed to install students Vanessa Flores-Sanchez and Bhavisha Bhakta as SGA members while one bill was read for the addition of a third senator.
Before concluding the meeting, the senators gave their weekly announcements.
A Times Talk will be held at 12 p.m. on Oct. 6 to inform students on the process of mail-in voting.
Also coming up will be a GRE prep session with the FHSU Honor Society and an on-campus blood drive that will also test for COVID-19 antibodies.
Lastly, a new organization called American Healthy Heart has been formed by several members of the SGA in an effort to promote mental and physical health on campus.
The meeting then came to an end. The Student Government Association will reconvene Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.