The Student Association Senate approved more than $440,000 in general allocations to student organizations at its meeting Monday.
The senate unanimously passed a bill to allocate funding to more than 200 student organizations through May 2022, slightly surpassing the more than $430,000 that the SA allocated for the fall semester. SA Sen. Yan Xu, ESIA-U and the chair of the finance committee, said the senate reallocated $20,349 from its executive and legislative branches’ budget to the co-sponsorship fund to approve 20 student organizations’ co-sponsorship requests for the spring semester.
“The finance committee and allocation committee believes the budget addresses the needs for organizations from November 2021 to May 2022 to provide a solid foundation for a vibrant University community driven by active and engaged student organizations despite the very limited budget we have this year,” Xu said at the meeting.
Xu said most of the student organizations did not receive their full request for funding because of higher demand from more organizations, and the University is funding fewer events this year. He said students should not expect the SA to pay costs for cultural organizations’ celebrations, like the Multicultural Student Services Center’s Latinx Heritage Celebration, which received funding for the event last month.
“MSSC finds this speaker and expects student organizations to pay it off, which is not a sustainable practice for current budget and the future budgets,” Xu said. “The school cannot just say, we expect student organizations to have the same standard of activity but don’t provide funding.”
Senators unanimously passed the Raise High Act, a bill that amends SA bylaws to require senators to attend at least three GW-sponsored events, like sporting events and cultural celebrations throughout the course of one school year. SA Sen. Gabriel Young, CCAS-U, read the legislation on behalf of SA Sen. Dasia Bandy, ESIA-U, who sponsored the bill but was absent from the meeting,
“This should not be a contentious issue,” Young said. “We should move forward to make sure that as student leaders we represent our constituents by attending these events.”
SA Vice President Kate Carpenter said she was excited to have “tangible evidence” of the SA’s devotion to the GW community with this bill. She said members of the SA should attend events and other student organization’s general body meetings to stay involved with the student body that they represent.
“We focus a lot on the internal of the SA and how to make us a functioning body, which is super useful and resourceful, but it’s also very important that we serve the external community as well,” Carpenter said.
The senate also filled its final three vacancies, filling all seats for the first time since last year. Senators confirmed freshman Lydia Miller as an undergraduate Elliott School of International Affairs senator, first-year graduate student Bianca Dacres as an at-large graduate senator and first-year graduate student Sezin Sayin as a graduate senator for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The Student Court struck down a referendum last week that could have returned first-year seats back to the senate through fall elections. The SA’s constitution states that freshmen can still be appointed to and serve in the senate as at-large senators.
Isha Trivedi contributed reporting.