The final Student Government Association meeting of the semester saw the emergency passing of a bill that would provide financial help to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting also saw the ending of budget season with the approval of large and small student organization budgets.
SGA President Abuk Jiel introduced Senate Bill 51, a bill which would allocate $20,000 from SGA’s funds to the advancement of USD’s Student Emergency fund. Kim Grieve, SGA Advisor and Dean of Students, said full-time students who have filed a FAFSA may apply for aid, and aid will most likely be delivered on a first-come-first-served basis.
“We are sitting on so much money and regardless of whether or not we come back in the fall, I think it’s a great idea that students will have the ability to try to get back the money that they paid into this school,” Jiel said.
Senate Bill 51 was passed unanimously as emergency legislation.
SGA also approved large and small student organization budget allocations. In total, small organizations will receive $81,068 in funding out of a requested $139,000. All small organization allocations — Senate Bills 2-8 and 10-47 — were unanimously approved in bulk and all large organization allocations were approved as well.
Aaron Mallinger, Director of Finance, said the finance committee looked at utilization rates from the past two years to determine budget allocations because the closure of campus makes this year’s utilization rates unreliable.
“We weighed this year’s utilization rates a little bit less because it’s really hard to know exactly what organizations would have spent had we been on campus this semester,” Mallinger said.
Senator Rachel Nwogo and Yuzina Subedi, president of the International Club challenged Senate Bill 51, which only allocates $12,000 to International Club instead of the $14,900 the organization requested. Subedi called the allocation unfair and said the International Club’s past utilization rate was lower than usual due to poor leadership.
The body discussed the club’s options for receiving more money and the International Club will have the opportunity to request special appropriations in the fall in the event they utilize the majority of their budget.
Katie Brust, Director of Communications, announced a new plan to post biographies and headshots of SGA senators on social media in the fall. Brust said the plan will broaden SGA’s outreach and give senators recognition for their work.
“It is important to me that the student body knows both what is occurring in SGA and by whom they are being represented,” Brust said in an email interview with The Volante. “One way for this to be possible is sharing professional headshots and biographies from senators, so constituents know which college each senator represents, and who to contact with feedback.”