SGA Rundown: Athletics, commuters and the SUB highlight last meeting before Torrey weekend

The senate hosted a passionate presentation from Commuter Life and passed two proposals from SGA President Sierra McCoy.

Austin Green, Managing Editor

The Student Government Association senate set out Thursday to take care of some familiar business in an unfamiliar place. The senate moved its meeting to the Lehman Board Conference room in Metzger Hall as their normal space in the Student Union Building was temporarily transformed into a backstage area for performers at the Eddy. However, they were able to tie up a major loose end from the previous week’s meeting by passing an internal proposal from SGA President Sierra McCoy to fund giveaways for Biola Athletics events.

COMMUTERS COMMAND FOCUS

Commuter Life director Katie Tuttle and assistant director Patrick Shin gave a presentation to explain more about their department to the assembled senators, in particular those who represent on-campus dorm communities. Tuttle went over the history of partnership between SGA and Commuter Life, which helped see projects like the Collegium come to fruition.

Shin then launched into how commuters make up a significant part of the Biola community. According to his presentation, over 1,400 students—around 36 percent of the entire student population—commute from off campus. An average of 225 incoming freshmen and transfers are commuters.

As Shin pointed out, this means that the two off campus commuter senators, Jordan Wright and Naomi Hidalgo, each represent between 700 and 800 Biola students. That amounts to more than double the population of most dorm halls.

Tuttle said students who have never lived on campus, especially transfers, tend to leave Biola before graduation at a much higher rate than those who do live on campus, a trend her department hopes to start reversing. Tuttle and Shin have already taken several steps to do so, including a restructure of Collegium staff last year and more rigorous training and a retreat for Collegium leaders this year.

The main way Shin encouraged SGA to help is by finding better ways to keep commuters informed about events around campus and encouraging them to get involved around Biola. He hopes to see more events take place during times when commuters are usually on campus rather than on late nights and weekends.

Shin and Tuttle also reminded the senators that commuter students bring greater cultural, ethnic, age, gender, economic and lifestyle diversity to Biola, and say they have found that most have a strong desire to invest in and contribute to the university.

NEW BULLETIN BOARDS FOR OCC

One current obstacle in communicating with OCC students is that the SGA newsletter tailored specifically to them has been repeatedly taken down from places in and around the SUB, where Wright and Hidalgo have been posting them.

To remedy this problem, McCoy submitted a $97.87 proposal to cover the cost of purchasing six SGA-controlled bulletin boards which will be used to house SGA newsletters and announcements across campus. After agreeing to hold a same-day vote, the senate passed the proposal unanimously due to its low cost and widespread support from the senate.

The proposal is part of McCoy’s agenda to transform the SUB into a more “welcoming, student-friendly” place. As part of that agenda, SGA is overseeing the removal and replacement of all the artwork in the SUB.

ATHLETICS GETS GIVEAWAY FUNDING

The senate also unanimously passed McCoy’s other internal proposal, which had been submitted two weeks prior. That proposal, formed in conjunction with assistant athletic director Neil Morgan, called for $5,160 to go towards free food and giveaway items at marquee Biola Athletics home events during the fall semester.

The events covered include an Oct. 26 volleyball game against Point Loma Nazarene University, Oct. 27 men’s and women’s soccer games versus Azusa Pacific University and Dec. 15 men’s and women’s basketball games, also against APU.

The focus of the proposal was to bring back an In-N-Out Burger truck to the basketball rivalry games for the second straight year. Bluff senator Lauren Sutter spearheaded an additional amendment that gave the proposal an additional $90 to cover the cost of different menu items for those with dietary restrictions, such as grilled cheese sandwiches for vegetarians and protein wraps for gluten-free students.

Souvenirs will be handed out at the volleyball game, which was already a part of Athletics’ free Chick-fil-A giveaway schedule. Plans are currently in place for a barbecue near Al Barbour Field during the soccer games. Those events take place during Biola’s annual parents’ weekend, which runs from Oct. 26-28.

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