Photo Courtesy of Biola University
This week, Student Government Association Vice President of Finance, Information Technology and Human Resources Thomas Burgess informed the senate that their budget had suffered an unexpected cut. The budget for this year originally sat at $30,000 but has dropped to $16,000 due to a misunderstanding between Financial Aid and last year’s SGA. The news shocked senators as they moved into voting for the six proposals given last week.
NATIONAL FIRST-GEN DAY
Last week’s proposal for National First-gen day asked for $3,500 to fund T-shirt and food. However, Blackstone senator Blake Saathoff said that in his experience as a first-generation student, T-shirts and food do not necessarily make him feel represented. Off-campus community senator Jonan-Rohi Plueger added that being first-gen does not help students pursue a passion, but is only a state of being. He also did not think the event needs that much money. Regardless, Bluff senator Hailee Howard argued that SGA needs to find a way to help the event, but not spend as much money on it. The proposal was denied.
Block senator Ryan St. Pierre mentioned that SCORR Conference is not university-funded, meaning that it may not happen if SGA does not fund it. Plueger argued that the money they were asking for did not prioritize students. Saathoff told the senate about his friend who struggled as an African American male on campus. He said his friend felt lonely and as if he was not part of the Biola community. However, Saathoff said the conference helped his friend find himself again and be refueled in faith. Horton senator Keren Godwin agreed that she feels seen as a minority and that the event should happen. Stewart senator Nathan Jensen agreed, but thought the proposal needed to be restructured and motioned to deny it. The senate voted to deny the original SCORR conference proposal and will ask them to repropose.
Plueger opened by saying this proposal, even if passed in partial, would be supporting athletics by encouraging students to attend games. Hope senator Gretchen Ferguson argued that during her SGA hour, constituents told her that even with the rewards they would not be attending the events, as their schedules are too busy. St. Pierre said that the initiative would at least invite students to participate, but still motioned to deny the proposal. The proposal was denied.
Ferguson shared that her constituents are excited for the event to take place and wanted her to vote to pass in full. Vice President of Administrative Services Julia Alvarez added that, because people need to go to the SGA office to get their “beat Azusa” wristbands, the event would continue to raise awareness of what SGA is and how they are involved. Sigma senator Rawleigh Grove stated that he did not think this event should be paid for in full, as he thinks events like SCORR deserve more funding. Off-campus community senator Toni Rosales and Alpha senator Betsy Amanuel motioned to pass the proposal for the partial amount of $1,300.
Saathoff began the discussion by sharing his concern that the conference, just like SCORR, may not take place without SGA funding. As his peers discussed how their proposal was broken down, Saathoff stated that Woven conference will be using the money as they wish, so the senate’s job would be only to decide how much funding Woven would get. Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Caleb Strauss added that the event would be important for both men and women, as it shows how men can be more inclusive in the workplace as well. Grove agreed and added that the event would most likely have high attendance because it is offering three chapel credits for students. The proposal was passed in its full amount of $3,000.
AVIAN VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE
Burgess and Hart senator Jesse Creasman both shared their concern with how ready the project is. They explained that while talking to the Avian team, they were informed that the program is nowhere near done. Additionally, the team already has all the computers and headsets they need, so the funding would be geared toward food and decorations. Ferguson was hesitant to pass the proposal and suggested denying it until the team has finished the project. The proposal was denied.