The Student Government Association saw three teams announce candidacies for President and Vice President for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. The teams are Katie Brust and Erin Weightman, Carter Larson and Abuk Jiel and Blake Brown and Carissa Occhipinto.
Several senators were sworn in at the meeting: Isis Johnson, Armand Khan, Brayden Case, Carter Larson and Chris Skunk.
Carson Zubke, current SGA president, presented an overview of “Charlie’s Cupboard,” a new food-pantry program coming to USD in the Fall 2020 semester aiming to provide for food-insecure students. However, any on-campus student with a student ID will be able to take advantage of the program.
According to past university studies Zubke said, one-third of USD students come from low-income or first-generation backgrounds to stress the importance of the program.
“Charlie’s Cupboard is an effort to alleviate food insecurity on campus. It will be open for three hours once a month to begin with, and we’ll build it up from there,” Zubke said. “Right now, our goal is to raise $5,000, which will cover our shelving, signage, and initial food bank order.”
Guest Speakers Hailey Purves and John Lushbough of the Vermillion School District’s Tanager Takeout food pantry and Samantha Hasenbank of USD SERVE spoke to inform SGA of the nature of food pantries and to endorse Charlie’s Cupboard.
“A lot of food pantries start with just food on a palette. They didn’t have shelves,” Purves said. “They didn’t have a five-thousand dollar donation. [USD] can totally do this, especially because USD already has the resources, the room. Half the battle is finding a space.”
SGA also discussed resolving a bill that would allocate funding for the Patriots Plaza, a proposed memorial to USD students who have served in the military. At-large representative Matthew Yetter proposed a vote on the bill, despite a previous agreement that the bill would be voted upon at the SGA meeting on Jan. 28. The bill received nine votes to pass, three votes to not pass and seven abstentions.
“I really wish we could’ve seen a more solid voice from senators tonight,” Zubke said. I think that it’s a project that has a lot of merit, but there were obviously a lot of opinions that didn’t come out. It was a 9-3-7 vote, and of course we had six seats that didn’t vote because they were at-large seats.”
Taking into account SGA’s recent office remodels and the ten percent of the allocated budget SGA keeps in reserve, Director of Finance Sophia Lima reported SGA has a remaining budget of $18,721 left for spending for the Spring 2020 semester, which Zubke noted will now decrease due to the sudden vote to approve the Patriot’s Plaza.
“We had $18,000 to spend at the beginning of the night, but obviously that’s changed [due to the allocation of money for Patriot’s Plaza],” Zubke said.