Saturday, July 13, 2024

SA Senate funds trips, discusses funding equity

 

By Aleksandra Sidorova

The Student Association Senate approved a temporary change to its finance policy and approved funding for four clubs to go on trips at its meeting March 5.

The updated finance policy will not allow clubs to request more than $5,000 in additional allocations in a fiscal year, which lasts from July 1 to June 31. This measure will be in place until the end of the semester and clubs with $1,500 or less left in additional allocations requests have been notified. 

By the end of the meeting, the SA had $8,110 left in additional allocations to last until the end of the school year.

 

STOCK EXCHANGE TRIP

Two clubs — the Accounting and Finance Association and the Student Managed Investment Fund — requested $2,000 each to help fund their joint trip to the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. 

The 24 students will spend two nights in the city and attend workshops at accounting and finance firms. The trip also features a networking dinner with SUNY Plattsburgh alumni who have found success in their fields as corporate directors and vice presidents, as well as Bob Airo, ’81 alumnus who served as the director of the Intercontinental Exchange from 2014 to 2020. 

The clubs have been taking these trips for at least 30 years, and 40 students have expressed interest this year. AFA representative Laraib Asim said these trips help students get jobs and internships. Members of the American Marketing Association chapter, who attended to make a case for their own trip to New Orleans, also spoke in support of AFA and SMIF.

The total cost for AFA and SMIF to afford transportation and lodging for the trip is $7,139. In addition to the SA funds, the clubs will receive a $1,500 grant from College Auxiliary Services. The clubs’ advisers, professor of economics and finance Robert Christopherson and distinguished service professor of accounting Mohamed Gaber, pay for the networking dinner out of pocket. 

Senator Naomi Adebayo proposed to cut the allocations to $1,500 so there is money left for non-academic clubs on campus to host their annual events like annual pageants, celebrations and fashion shows. Adebayo said funding is especially important for cultural clubs.

“I feel like people tend to downplay the use of these events on campus,” Adebayo said. “I understand that this is an event that’s trying to get you guys networking opportunities and the connections that you guys need to make it in this life — that’s only for a select group. Events by these (non-academic) clubs are to bring out all of us, especially the students of color, in order to celebrate them and they know they’re not alone. … What happens to the students who are not interested in finance? What happens when these clubs no longer exist? What do students have to look forward to while they’re in Plattsburgh for months at a time, missing home? These events are meant to be that — that little piece of home that we don’t have in Plattsburgh.”

After an hour of back-and-forth discussion about how to distribute money most equitably between academic and cultural clubs, the SA settled on $1,850 each, under the condition that the clubs make it clear to students that funding came from the SA.

 

OTHER TRIPS

AMA requested $1,600 for a eight-person trip for four nights to the American Marketing Association Intercollegiate Conference in New Orleans. At the conference, the club will compete with about 350 other chapters. 

The request was unanimously approved. The funds will help the club afford lodging, conference registration and airfare, but students would still pay $200 out of pocket.

The Botany Club requested $600 to take 26 students to the Montreal Biodome and Insectarium. The funds cover tickets, transportation and bus parking. 

The Senate lowered the amount to $550, slightly increasing the out-of-pocket cost for students, and unanimously approved the request.

 

OTHER NEWS

Additionally, the Senate unanimously approved Senator Arshita Pandey, who was absent from the meeting, as a voting member of the finance board. Pandey met the requirement of attending at least three board meetings.

Senator Tasmayee Jagtap said in her report she was “scared” for the upcoming SA fee referendum, in which students vote every two years whether to keep the SA fee mandatory to support SA activities. 

Jagtap said she had seen posts on YikYak, a social media app that allows users to make anonymous posts and see posts from other users in their vicinity, criticizing the SA and telling students to vote “no” in the referendum.

Student Activities Coordinator Sarah McCarty announced she will be replacing Dean of Students Steve Matthews as SA Senate adviser and will be attending their meetings from then on.

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