SGA Rundown: Woven Conference proposal

Senators discuss serving Native American students and hear executive updates.

Phoebe Vrable, News Editor

At the beginning of this week’s Student Government Association meeting, board members filled out a form with the names of students they have gotten to know whom they will be encouraging to run for Senate in the coming year. Info meetings for prospective board members will be held on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 in room 108 Talbot East. Following the survey, a group photo was taken outside of the Student Union building

After senators shared prayer requests, Kathryn Hansen and Bekah Hiatt presented a second proposal for the Woven Conference, which they described as a “women’s leadership conference with the goal to encourage women in their walk with the Lord and their position in the working world.” 

The conference, while open to both genders, is geared towards helping women understand their specific roles both in their relationship with God and in their business endeavors. Men are also encouraged to attend to better understand “where women are coming from,” Hiatt said. 


Hansen and Hiatt asked for $2,500. $1500 to fund the speakers, $740 for facilities and staging and $260 for potential marketing strategies.  Questions asked included backup plans for speakers and how funding would be reallocated if larger costs were negated. Currently, Hansen and Hiatt have one potential backup plan for a keynote speaker. The presenters indicated they would reallocate extra funds toward marketing strategies and ensure that the event is free for students to attend. 


Diversity and inclusion coordinator Isaiah Swasey presented on Native/First peoples. In 2020, around 17 students at Biola identified as American Indian or Alaskan native according to Data USA. Swasey encouraged board members to take time to remember these people, especially exiting November, which is Native American Heritage Month. Swasey said that some of the struggles these students may face include involuntarily living on reservations and feeling that their land has been disrespected by those who do not own it.  

President Christie Macris said that senators can better serve these students by attentively listening to their personal stories, especially since they make up a smaller percentage of the student body.  Blackstone Senator Iziphozonke Mlambo Sr encouraged the board to “be present and be there… wanting to learn, but also to engage and participate…. [so] that we understand what they need from us as student government.” Swasey concluded by prompting SGA to listen and advocate for these students. 

Following the Students We Serve presentation, International Student Services Director of Administrative Services Ingrid Cruz Sauer and the orientation assistants shared a video with the board giving a tour of the office where members of SGA and SMU can find office supplies.  


The meeting closed with executive updates. SGA VP of Finance Sophia Block presented a proposal for the upcoming budget. In most cases, the budget stays constant and is reset each semester. Student pay will increase by $0.50 an hour in conjunction with the 2023 minimum wage increase, and SGA will hire another orientation assistant. 

Sauer reminded board members to return their Operation Christmas Child boxes to the SGA office by Dec. 2. 

Dean of Student Wellness Lisa Igram sat in on Macris’s executive update and advised SGA on how to respond to the backlash received from previous surveys on how to improve campus aesthetics. She encouraged board members to direct students to the statement of financial transparency

After extensive deliberation on Block’s proposed SGA budget, the motion passed. 

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