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SG approves of care packages, dissolves committees

Student Government dissolves standing committees at their meeting Monday night. PHOTO BY JENNA MANTO/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Student government voted to fund finals week care packages and dissolve four Senate standing committees at its meeting Monday night.

SG President SaraAnn Kurkul opened the meeting with her president’s address and talked about the need for greater continuity in SG.

“Every year, we’ve been pushing the restart button with Student Government,” Kurkul said. “From year to year, we just keep starting over, starting from scratch.”

Kurkul suggested improving the transition between SG administrations by holding elections in February and waiting until May for the new executive board and cabinet members to take over. In the interim, electees would shadow the current executive board and work with cabinet members and senators.

“They can get to know what’s going on, so they’re not starting completely fresh the following year,” Kurkul said after the meeting. “They can continue what was already being done and on top of that have their own issues.”

After Kurkul’s address, Senate passed a proposal from Director of Academic Affairs Ryan Fitzgerald to allocate $4,415 from the semester’s budget to assemble and distribute 1,000 care packages to students during finals week.

The packages consist of a water bottle, a stress ball and a variety of office supplies. Fitzgerald said the packages will be distributed at the George Sherman Union and Yawkey Center for Student Services on Dec. 13.

“It’s a great program, students love it,” the Questrom School of Business junior said. “They get free items, and it promotes mental health for them during the stressful time.”

Kurkul noted SG has been funding the care packages for the past five years. She added that the care packages are not only great for students, but also great branding for SG.

“It’s great to get our name out there and show students that we are here and that we do care,” Kurkul said.

After the care package proposal, senators voted to dissolve four Senate standing committees — Student Affairs, Communications, Finance and Academic Climate.

The most contentious debate centered around dissolving the Finance Committee, which while in the SG constitution, was not actively doing budgetary work, Senate Chair Octavio Vidal said. The duties are instead fulfilled by the Department of Finance.

The proposal to dissolve the Finance Committee, which required a two-thirds majority, passed with 28 yeas, five nays and four abstentions.

“We just need to make sure everything is set in the constitution, everything is as is,” Vidal said after the meeting.

Several senators shared their thoughts on the committee dissolutions and the finals care package proposal.

At-large Sen. Elliott Snow, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he thinks the committee dissolutions will make SG more effective.

“It just goes to show that student government is interested in making things more streamlined and therefore making Senate more effective, and making it so that student government is, again, for students,” Snow said. “Overall, I think that’s the direction we’re headed in.”

College of Engineering Sen. Arthan Bhatt said dissolving the Finance Committee shows SG’s commitment to adhering to the constitution.

“I know going forward that is going to be a big issue, but it looks like we have felt that it was necessary for us to get rid of the Finance Committee in order to make sure we can make the proper changes to the constitution,” the freshman said. “Hopefully, I presume this can give us more transparency between the students and student government.”

Adrian Lee, a sophomore and College of General Studies senator, said he thought the debate surrounding dissolution of the Finance Committee demonstrates senator involvement in making decisions for the student body.

“It’s good that all the ideas were out,” Lee said. “I think it’s time we did that because the way Cabinet is currently moving and the way our government is currently working, it’s time to get rid of the bureaucracy.”

Isabel Owens contributed to the reporting of this article.

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