By Hayden Sadler
The Student Association Senate deliberated on granting $5,000 in additional allocations to Biketopia, African Unity and Black Onyx during what was one of the longest Senate meetings in recent history. Due to the fact that the additional allocation funds are running low with now only about $3,000 left, there was much debate about reaching an agreed amount for present clubs to receive.
Eirik Lavigne, president of Biketopia, requested $1,300 in additional allocations for bike repairs. Historically, Biketopia has been one of the less demanding clubs in terms of funding. Over time, the club has expanded its reach by offering bike repair lessons and repairing and renting out bikes. The $1,300 in allocations would allow Biketopia to focus on properly repairing bikes, some approaching 60 years of age, with new parts that would get them in shape to be rented out. Senator Arshita Pandey, citing low funds available from the SA, recommended amending the agenda to grant Biketopia only $900, but the idea was rejected. Senator Dhir Jain mentioned that if the funds to maintain the bikes are neglected, then the costs will only increase in the future. The request for $1,300 was granted by the Senate.
Black Onyx requested funding for two events. The upcoming Black Onyx fashion show was of primary concern with a request for $1,263 for the show itself and a further request of $500 for the designers alone. There was much discussion by the senators as to the available funds left for the semester. Senator Naomi Adebayo motioned to increase the total funding for the event to $2,300, however was rejected. The final approved amendment was $2,000 for the show itself, which was approved by the Senate instead of the proposed $1,263. The additional $500 was also granted by the Senate. The Black Onyx fashion show will be held on Nov. 11, and tickets will run for $9 per person.
The final club requesting additional allocations was African Unity. For the upcoming Ubunye storytelling event and Night in the Rec, the representatives initially requested $850 to afford catering, event planning and a photobooth. The event has historically been a success over the last seven years, and has even sold out in the past, even bringing people from New York City and Albany to check it out. Last year, more than 120 people attended the event. Representatives from the club mentioned that African Unity has generated profit from the event in the past, and would do so again. Adebayo fought to amend the additional allocations first to $2,234, then to $2,000 referencing the cost of catering such a large number of attendees. Once again, the topic of low remaining funds was a subject of great deliberation among the Senate, for which Adebayo mentioned a “first come, first serve basis” on additional allocation requests over the next four weeks. A concern of the Senate was that granting such a large amended request to African Unity would effectively kill other clubs’ funding until the spring semester. Most amendments to raise the funds were denied, however the Senate finally settled on granting African Unity $1,500. The SA now has just around $3,000 in additional allocations for the rest of the semester.
Money was the talk of the night as members of the SUNY Student Assembly requested the Senate’s permission to take money from the school’s Defensive Driving Program, which hasn’t been used since before COVID, and use it to send representatives to the SUNY Student Assembly conference that will be held in Syracuse, New York. The Senate approved the request. SA President Carter Mosher was at the meeting and encouraged the Senate to work together and make decisions without fear of being labeled negatively. The SA will have to work together to balance the remainder of the allocations budget this semester, and clubs may not receive the funding they hope to receive. Mosher was not present at the time of the announcements, so there were none from him.
Faculty Adviser Stephen Matthews applauded the productivity and critical thinking displayed by the Senate throughout the meeting and explained that future meetings will require just as much thought going forward with the current budget.
In contrast to previous meetings, senators all had announcements to share. Many had attended Coffeehouse and club events. Senator Jonanthony Tarlen announced his St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraising goal of reaching 1,000 push ups by the end of the day, and given how late the meeting went, that he would have to do a remaining 200 following the meeting.