By Adeeb Chowdhury
Even in the midst of uncertainty, the Student Association remains steadfast in its goal to support, lead and inspire the SUNY Plattsburgh community. The semester’s first student senate meeting saw the approval of a revised budget, introduction of brand new members and plans for fresh activities.
A key part of the meeting was SA Treasurer Ha Nguyen’s presentation of the updated fall 2020 budget. COVID-19 complications have led to uncertainty surrounding face-to-face events, meetings and logistics of many budgeted items, such as traveling, which has rendered much of the previously allocated funds unusable.
Therefore, departments in charge of administration budgets, such as theater, the Learning Center/library, and Greek life, were contacted and have provided new figures. For example, the budget for music production has been lowered from $12,475 to $5,778. However, these new figures have been carefully calculated to ensure that students are still able to access these resources to the extent they need. Only superfluous expenses for services no longer usable this year due to COVID-19 restrictions have been eliminated.
“Clubs budgets have been kept at a level sufficient for printing [and making copies to promote meetings/events] if they had requested so in the previous spring budgeting season,” Nguyen said.
If any club or student group needs to request funds for any reason, they must apply through Additional Allocations. The newly established Finance-Activity Ad-hoc committee shall review such requests up to $300. Larger requests will be reviewed by the senate. Additional Allocation forms are available online and should be submitted two days before each committee meeting.
The total available funds for clubs is $57,506 this fall. $333,713 has been allocated for services including SA activities open to all students, and $35,345 for theater, performance and arts departments. Prior to the revision, these figures were $161,041 for clubs, $365,617 for services and activities and $49,174 for performance and arts.
The meeting also included the addition of fresh faces. Ahmed Metwaly was approved and sworn in as coordinator of academics unanimously. SA President Rudaba Ahmed personally testified to Metwaly’s leadership instincts and work ethic, and Senator Moussa Keita joined in with praise toward his refreshing forward-thinking nature.
Ahmed, who has been interested in the Student Association since first coming to SUNY Plattsburgh, stressed the importance of making sure students receive guidance in all areas of academics.
“What we’re going through right now is truly unprecedented,” Ahmed said.
However, Ahmed is committed to “helping students in any way possible, whether that be issues with remote learning, coursework and anything else they may be struggling with.”
Cristal Garcia was unanimously approved and sworn in as a brand new senator. She expressed her eagerness at experiencing new activities on campus, joining the senate being paramount among them. According to Ahmed, Garcia has consistently displayed exceptional leadership skills and involvement in student issues, especially those concerning inclusivity and diversity.
Garcia also has particular interest in encouraging student input in campus services. She presented herself as an aspiring change-maker, determined to work for her community.
Surabhi Parte was also approved as the new Student Association secretary. She described her excitement at the prospect of being a part of the association and commented that it had been one of her goals since joining the university.
“It’s truly an honor for me to be able to work with the Student Association,” Surabhi said. “I [am confident] that we will conquer all hurdles related to COVD-19 and manifest [our visions] quite gracefully.”
Malik Donadelle was approved as Student Association photographer and videographer with full votes. Senator Naomi Tegybelu enthusiastically endorsed Donadelle, discussing his skills and remarked that he is the perfect candidate for the job.
Donadelle described his excitement at the opportunity to “capture moments of these historic times we are facing,” and added that “doing it for the Student Association is a great start.”
A new Rules and Procedures Policy was approved as well. Authored by Executive Vice President Jennifer Stanton, this outlines the responsibilities of senators, including the requirement to not miss more than three meetings. The policy also encouraged greater senator involvement in office hours, requiring higher attendance and for members to stay for longer.
Finally, the senate discussed its new vision for navigating this uncertain year. Ahmed requested members to reach out to students and stay in touch with their needs. Senator Princess Danso encouraged more club activity through remote learning, and Senator
Shannon O’Brien emphasized the need for an active arts department to promote a sense of community and spirit.
Stanton mentioned a wide array of online events planned for the semester, including a Virtual Coffeehouse, as well as new ideas to promote student safety guidelines.