BY CORIE LYNN
The Fort Hays State University community extends beyond the campus. It includes overseas partnerships, as well as a large number of virtual students.
And, just as the on-campus population is represented by the Student Government Association, the virtual students elect their own student senate.
As sponsor of the Virtual Student Senate, Greg Atkins, assistant director of FHSU Online, spoke at the SGA’s weekly meeting to update the group on the virtual representatives’ activities.
“We’re just getting started,” he said.
Even so, Atkins reported the group elected their executive officers and decided on four semester objectives.
These objectives include a virtual channel through which online students can communicate, the formation of a diversity and inclusion committee, streamlined online communication between student and university and more mental health resources for the online population.
The Virtual Student Senate also hopes to collaborate with its on-campus counterparts.
“One of the things I’m here to do is to initiate some collaboration between your [student senate] body and ours,” Atkins said.
Following Atkins’ discussion, President Haley Reiter gave her report, which focused on updates from various committees.
According to Reiter, the Student Emergency Assistance Fund saw a rise in applications. With this increase, the committee awarded a total of $1,700 to four students.
In addition, she sat on a committee looking at alternatives to Safe Ride as well as attended the Traffic Appeals Committee meeting with Vice President Bryson Homman.
Reiter also informed the student senators she attended the Student Advisory Council, which represents all Kansas Board of Regents institutions.
At this meeting, the council discussed the ongoing fight to improve mental health resources across KBOR campuses. She also learned the Legislative Affairs directors, including FHSU’s LAD Crystal Rojas, were discussing getting classes canceled the day of the presidential election.
With Nov. 3 fast approaching, Reiter believes this is unlikely and that they “don’t have enough time to take it to KBOR.”
Homman then gave a short report, reminding senators to attend and report on their assigned committees, before moving to Treasurer David Schulte’s report.
As the student senators were to nominate and vote on Allocations Committee members during the meeting, Schulte took this time to explain the role of the committee.
The allocations process takes place during the Spring semester and allows FHSU student organizations to apply for funding made available through student fees.
According to Schulte, SGA is “responsible for allocating [this] money to all student organizations.”
This process is led by the Allocations Committee as it schedules hearings and ensures requests are within the rules of the SGA funding guide and constitution.
Following Schulte, Rojas began her report by once again reminding the senators to make a plan to vote on Election Day, as well as to pay attention to debates leading up to the election.
“It’s the best way to inform yourself on what [the candidates’] platforms are,” she said.
Regarding the discussion of canceling courses, Rojas also explained she understood it would be difficult to organize so close to elections and that nothing is set in stone. She believed, though, that to do so would be a great opportunity for students.
The final executive report came from Community Relations Director Jayden Siebert, who told the student senators she was still seeking members for her Big Event Committee, as well as ideas for service projects for the event.
Additional reports came from the Legislative and Political Action, Senate Affairs and General Education committees.
LPAC reported discussing information from the Student Advisory Council, while the Senate Affairs Committee had a bill up for first reading.
The General Education Committee reviewed an elementary meteorology course, which did not pass, and made plans to invite in more representatives from various campus departments.
With the conclusion of reports, SGA swore in one new student senator then moved into Open Forum. The only business discussed during the latter time was Allocations Committee nominations.
As the meeting drew to a close, the student senators read three new bills for the first time and passed a bill to give a new funding line item to the Shooting Sports Club.
Before adjourning, the senators gave their weekly announcements, including nominations for the Tiger Transfer Champion award opening and Arts for Social Change hosting a panel on gender and sexuality.
The Student Government Association will reconvene at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22.