Photo: Alex Pedersen

Here’s two things you should know from Student Government Association’s March 30 meeting:

One: SGA discusses student fees, Multicultural Center students voice opinions

More than 15 students from the Multicultural Center (MCC) showed up to discuss a proposed amendment to the SGA Constitution regarding requiring student organizations which receive student fees dispersed from SGA (all undergraduate students taking more than 12 credits pay $106.80 in fees to support SGA and the associated student clubs) to keep their events free, or else attain an exemption from SGA to move forward with charging fees for specific events. 

The MCC students voiced concerns about gauging the quantity of food required for events (noting that at the recent Soul Food night, many students attended for the free food, necessitating smaller portions), the significant costs associated with putting on authentic, well-planned events, and paying performers and other event personnel fairly.

MCC members noted that some of their events required weeks, if not months, and thousands of dollars of preparation, and that charging small fees in the neighborhood of $5 or $10 can give the MCC clubs not only an accurate headcount for events, but also a greater likelihood of cultural respect for students who attend. 

SGA President Adam Engleman noted that SGA had reworked the way it handled club’s reserve funds in the last several years, when some organizations were charging for events and building up large reserves, a point echoed by LEAD Director Sara Phillips. 

President Engleman reiterated that the intention of SGA is to ensure that students are receiving the full benefits of their fees, and not being asked to pay extra to attend on-campus events by SGA-funded organizations unless absolutely necessary. 

When an SGA Senator asked how necessary the funds were to funding club operations and hosting events, a representative from the Amigos club noted that the proceeds from their recent Carnaval event were being rolled right into the upcoming Pachanga event, which will feature a live band and dancers on April 15. 

President Engleman asked all nonmembers to leave the room for a brief closed session, and when invited back in, SGA struck down the proposed clause that necessitates SGA approval for charging events for student-funded organizations. 

The language that did pass strongly encourages organizations receiving student fees to host events for free. The entire SGA Constitution, along with the candidates for next year’s senatorial, vice presidential, and presidential positions, will be up for a vote beginning April 11. 

Two: SGA approves new engineering club, Mountaineers Without Borders

Josh Clyncke, an engineering student in the Rady School, came before SGA to get approval for a new campus club, Mountaineers Without Borders, a local chapter of the international service organization Engineers Without Borders. Clyncke notes that the group’s intention is to start with community projects, before moving on to global betterment projects in conjunction with the organization’s larger mission.  

Right now, the group is working on assembling STEM kits for an upcoming educational camp this summer. Clyncke notes that growing the club to take on an expanded role in the community next feel through establishing a social media presence, fliering, and other avenues is the group’s top priority. 

More from SGA next week!