SGA discusses new scholarships to put in place

The Student Government Association convened Feb. 14 to discuss new resolutions, dining and housing concerns and to elect new senators.

The meeting kicked off with the senators splitting into two focus groups to discuss dining and housing options on campus. Senators brought up concerns with the lack of accommodation for dietary restrictions, such as a gluten intolerance or vegan and vegetarian diets. 

Those within the housing focus group discussed factors that made students stay on campus versus leaving. They also discussed how the senators felt about the furniture within student living spaces, as well as how they felt about the living-learning communities. 

The leaders of the focus groups said they will return to SGA meetings with ideas that take the senators’ ideas into consideration up into September. 

After SGA reconvened, they moved to electing new senators to open positions. Courtney Harris, a junior nursing major, was voted by acclamation to serve as a representative for Nursing and Health Professions. 

Alexandria Mitchell and Ty Philips ran for junior senator, with Mitchell winning the majority vote. Philips and Veronica Jorgensen ran for senator at large, with Philips winning the majority vote. 

After the new senators were sworn in, SGA discussed SR 22/23-01, a resolution for an SGA-funded scholarship that would provide a fund of $5,000 split between two semesters to a single student to cover their housing costs. It was proposed by junior senator Garrett Partain. 

“I’ve had experiences with housing insecurity in the past,” Partain said. “It would be good to have something that is an SGA specific institution that helps out students in an area that I care about.”

The funds for the scholarship would be pulled from excess funding from SGA. The recipient of the award would be selected by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Shared Governance Committee, based on financial need. 

“The money comes from the SGA budget, where we have roughly $20,000 allocated specifically for our salaries for our staff here,” Partain said. “Beyond that, not too much money is previously dispersed toward specific things.”

Any excess money left in the SGA budget is donated to a certain nonprofit each year.

After discussion, SGA voted to table the resolution to be voted on in the next meeting on Feb. 28. Many of the senators were concerned about how the scholarship only provided housing to one student and felt that the money should be split among multiple students.

“Most first-year residence halls are $3,000, including North Park Quads, including Kays, University Hall and Arkansas Hall,” said senator Ellie Foote. “What would work well are three $1,500 scholarships, which would cover half (of that rate).”

Partain said he designed the scholarship for a single student so the awardee wouldn’t have to worry about a housing bill at all. 

Over the next week, Partain will be meeting with the senators who raised concerns during the meeting to edit the proposal. 

The other resolution proposed that evening was ER 22/23-04, a resolution that would require vice presidential and presidential candidates to provide receipts of purchase during their campaign periods. The resolution has not been passed yet. 

“After analyzing and seeing an overview of the campaign, and because I’ve been in two campaigns of my own, I understand that this is a necessity,” said vice president Maddyson Lamb. “Running a campaign on campus is becoming more and more of an expense and that’s not the intended purpose. (The resolution) would allow more students to be able to (run).”

In addition, Lamb said the resolution that would change the admission policies for Arkansas State University, which was passed in fall 2022, would be implemented in fall 2023.

SGA President Carlee Bird and her staff

Categories: News

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