BY AUSTIN RUFF
FHSU’s Student Government Association met last Thursday in the Peter Werth Black and Gold Room of the Memorial Union during the “Bring a Buddy to Senate” meeting. Senators were encouraged to invite friends and those interested in learning more about SGA to attend. A cookie platter greeted guests as they entered and took a seat.
Vice President Ryan Stanley opened the meeting and thanked those in attendance. He presented the minutes from last week’s meeting, which were amended and passed. Stanley then introduced the guest speaker, Assistant VP for Student Affairs, Teresa Clounch, who spoke in honor of Black History Month.
Clounch explained the history of the month, noting that February was chosen because it is the birth month of both President Lincoln and prominent African American abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass.
“Black History is American history,” Clounch said, “and it’s essential that we recognize its importance.”
Clounch highlighted Alpha Kappa Alpha, which is a historically black sorority founded in 1908 by and for black women. Clounch was a member during her undergraduate years and is the current graduate chapter president. Her chapter collects eyeglasses to donate to those who can’t afford them and partners with groups to provide free breast cancer screenings.
Clounch also works with young women at Washburn University. Notable members include current Vice-President of the United States, Kamala Harris. Clounch encouraged students to engage in events being held throughout the month of February to better understand Black History.
“By supporting these events, you’re learning and being a part of history,” Clounch said.
Following Clounch’s presentation, President Mark Faber began the executive and committee reports. He started his week by preparing for Educational Opportunity Fund meetings and having a graduate school lunch. He also attended a Zoom Q/A with the staff senate president and faculty senate president and learned about the health of the individual colleges within FHSU. Faber also floated the idea of making Election Day a University Holiday, and asked Senators to speak with constituents and gauge support for the idea.
Stanley read through the by-laws and constitution and put together the weekly announcements.
Treasurer David Schulte gave a reminder for organizations to prepare for Allocations Week and announced an allocations workshop would be held today in Schulte Hall.
Legislative Affairs Director Kendra Clary spoke about Higher Education Day, which would allow students to travel to Topeka for the day and speak with representatives about the importance of higher education. Clary will be meeting with other Regents University’s LADs to make a plan for departure. Clary also reminded students that there is free legal counseling available on the last Tuesday of every month.
Community Relations Director Chloe Stanley announced that new work and employment opportunities would be posted soon.
Administrative Assistant Jayden Siebert thanked the Senators for their work tabling the previous week.
Following executive reports, committee members gave reports of their activities. The Appropriations Committee was presenting several bills. The Student Involvement Committee will be doing a feature on two senators per week.
Faber then spoke on the importance of the Education Opportunity Fund (EOF). He handed out a flier highlighting the major points of the fund. The EOF is a student-controlled fund for campus programs that is reviewed by SGA. It seeks to enhance opportunities for students, provide scholarships, and aid graduate students, among many other things.
During the Open Forum, it was suggested that SGA find more ways to publicize the Senate and increase membership.
“I think it would be very beneficial for Senators to speak with students in Freshman Seminars and students visiting FHSU,” a guest from the gallery said.
The comment was well-received.
A question about the status of the Recycling Task Force was submitted. Faber explained the task force had been established in 2011, but problems with continuity had led to stagnation in the program. Faber met with the Dean of the Werth College to determine the future of the task force.
“We really need to establish a committee so we can come up with a 3-5 year plan of sustainability and establish some continuity in the task force,” Faber said.
A host of new bills were presented and discussed, including one line item change, an equipment request, a trip request, an appropriations request, and a request to distribute EOF funds. A speaker event request from the Appropriations Committee was passed. Senator Mason moved to table two bills from the Office of the President that would have installed two judicial nominees, including Chief Justice nominee Emily Maldanado. However, neither nominees were in attendance.
Senator Ella Burrows announced an upcoming Times Talk on the Rise of the Libertarian Party.
Senator Isabella Artman urged her fellow senators to get the word out about SGA and encourage interested students to apply.
The Student Government Association will reconvene at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the Peter Werth Black and Gold Room of the Memorial Union.