Despite fewer students, conflicting schedules and uncertain times, the Plattsburgh State Student Association is planning to continue serving students to the best of its ability during the coronavirus pandemic.
SA President Rudaba Ahmed said the SA is currently working on trying to refund part of the SA fee to all students. Because of this refund, there will be budget cuts made for clubs and organizations this semester. All on-campus activities and events will also be canceled in order to keep in compliance with the new health regulations set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The SA Senate will now be holding bi-weekly Zoom meetings, as it is a requirement of its constitution to hold at least bi-weekly meetings, every Wednesday at 1 p.m. There will also be weekly executive council meetings Mondays at 6:45 p.m.
The senate held its first remote meeting last Wednesday at 1:20 p.m. During the 40-minute meeting, nine out of the total 16 senators were in attendance, but SA Executive Vice President Jennifer Stanton hopes more senators will be in attendance in the upcoming meetings.
Stanton said there were international students who are senators who chose to return to their home countries during the pandemic. Because of the difference in time zones, it has been difficult finding a meeting time that works for everyone.
The last in-person senate meeting was supposed to be held March 12, but it was canceled by Stanton, the same day New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the decision to shift to distance learning for all SUNY schools.
“There was a lot of chaos and panic on campus that day, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to hold a meeting in that environment,” Stanton said.
Stanton said it’s been difficult getting in touch with some student senators since PSU announced the switch to distance learning.
“Just because everything is being done remotely now does not mean that we don’t have work anymore,” Stanton said. “We are still the same governing body that is here to support the students.”
Last week’s meeting had four to five items up for discussion. The first item was requested by a senator who was not in attendance, as the meeting was last minute. The senate still discussed the senator’s question, which was on whether the senate meetings are still necessary, and also which senators’ attendances will be mandatory.
The next item was the approval of the Coding Hub for permanent status as an SA club. While no representative from the club was in attendance at the meeting, the club was still approved.
“Their student membership has consistently been approved, and they submitted all the required documents needed for the approval,” Stanton said. “It was very important for them to be approved this semester so they can be approved for a budget for the upcoming fall semester.”
Finally, the public relations board, the acquisition board and the SA museum collection all went to the legislative review board to undergo some changes. The SA museum collection coordinator for arts determines how artwork is acquired for the campus.
While Ahmed said this was an uncertain time for all, the SA will continue to provide remote services and support to students to the best of its ability.
“We are planning on doing question and answer panels, weekly polls and using social media effectively to keep in touch with students,” Ahmed said. “Our main objective is to bring a voice to student concerns and make sure that the administration not just hears these concerns but also takes the appropriate actions.”