First senate meeting discusses clubs, dining, and academic building issues

SGA E-board members show off their Whit Cenntennial Special Edition. From left: Estaban Price, Garbielle Langevine, Emma Redmond, Jamie Ivan, Brianna Reagan, Riya Bhatt and Hope Campbell. - Co-News Editor / Gianna Malgieri

Following the 2022-2023 academic year, the Student Government Association (SGA) is hoping to bring a new and lighter feel to future senate meetings. On a Monday, Sept. 18, SGA held its first senate meeting of the academic year with its new executive board.

“It’s important for me to change the feeling of SGA into a more personable, fun, and inclusive environment because that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be,” said SGA President Brianna Reagan after the meeting. “We are made by the students and for the students so with that being said, school is already hard enough. A lot of students are already working hard enough to get themselves through school. And why feel like when you come to express your concerns, should you be given a hard time about it?” 

After students, senate representatives of each club, and spectators alike grabbed their black pepper bourbon beef with kale ramen noodles from a Gourmet Dining pop-up meal, the meeting started with the creation of a TikTok that panned across the SGA board and into the crowd. That was followed by an open session that included presentations from Gourmet Dining, Rowan After Hours (RAH), and The Whit.

The marketing Manager for Gourmet Dining, Jennifer Campbell, revealed the bi-monthly themed meals that they have planned for Holly Pointe throughout the semester. Some themes include Bridgerton, Alice in Wonderland, and Bite Night for Halloween.

“I present every year in the fall to basically update the senate because it’s one way that I can reach a lot of different clubs and organizations as my first line of getting in touch, letting everybody know going on new, and I participate,” said Campbell after the meeting. “I am at every single senate meeting and most of my most hopeful interactions and connections have actually been made at senate meetings…It was me getting to know campus life and Rowan when I first started two years ago was going to the senate first to see how much I could learn about the community here.”  

Campbell also stressed the resources that Rowan’s dietitians can offer to students, whether it’s in regard to a food restriction or a nutritional goal.

“If anyone has any sort of dietary concerns or needs, gaining weight, losing weight, allergies, questions about things, things you just want to see on campus, Melissa [Eaton] and our team of dieticians are the people to speak with,” said Campbell during her presentation.

Rowan has also added a new registered dietitian, alumni Brianna Pellegrino ‘23. Pelligrino will join Eaton in providing better food alternatives and assisting a wide range of dietary needs.

Students were also alerted to the resources they had in other departments on campus. For example, RAH is introducing co-sponsorships, a way for student organizations to collaborate with RAH in an effort to promote both parties’ events.

RAH’s co-sponsorship coordinator Abigail Cassino presented multiple options clubs have with co-sponsorships.

“RAH will help promote the event for your club if you co-sponsor with us. We will also help you secure a location for your event and provide event staff and logistical support with the event’s overall aesthetic and behind-the-scenes work,” said Cassino. “We will also find financial support with co-sponsored events.”

Cassino explained that there are two tiers. Tier 1 allows clubs to participate in events that are already happening while Tier 2 allows clubs the opportunity to create a “major” event from scratch with the assistance of RAH. Students can submit applications via Prof Link.

Next, The Whit’s Editor-in-Chief Victoria McGivern presented the entire SGA board with the 40-page Centennial Edition of The Whit that was completed over the summer in celebration of the college turning 100. The special edition is a collection of articles dating back to 1938 at The Whit’s inception. 

“For the last five months, a small, yet committed group of The Whit staff have devoted over 500 hours to creating a special edition of the newspaper,” said McGivern to the attendees. “If it weren’t for the generations of dedicated student journalists, and faculty, Rowan would have no rich documentation or story to tell. What you hold now is a piece of history. Inside these pages are the lives, stories, and events that have shaped Rowan into what it is today.”

After the senate agenda was approved, the SGA board stressed the importance of the coming workshops for the clubs’ senate representatives to better understand their duties in representing their clubs and relaying the information back to their respective members. They also approved the Student Financial Control Board (SFCB). The SFCB consists of at least 14 voting members (16 this year), and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who serves as the non-voting member and tie-breaker in case of a tie. The board votes on providing overnight travel funding to any organizations that request it during meetings, alongside club/student special project funding. The board also is responsible for helping the CFO put together the next fiscal year’s budget in the spring. 

SGA Student Trustee Michael Harrington and Alternate Student Trustee Yuval Saar presented the procedures to make revisions and amendments to governing documents like the bylaws. There was a strong emphasis on student participation and involvement.

“We’re turning 100 as a University. The executive committee is really passionate about moving forward with kind of a more futuristic and a more updated view of what SGA should be for the students. We want everyone to get involved. We want you all to think of yourselves of founders of the new SGA,” said Harrington to the attendees.

They encourage students to come to meetings, speak with representatives, and bring any and all of their concerns to the board. 

“We want to make sure that this is an environment that is welcoming to all of our students no matter the color, gender, sexuality, or anything of that sort– you are welcome into these doors and we will do as best as we can to deliver whatever concern you made need fixed,” said Reagan.

Updates and information about construction on campus buildings were also discussed at the meeting. AVP Facilities and Operations Emma Redmond gave the almost 200 people in attendance a run down on Robinson Hall, Bunce Hall and the Student Center Expansion Center.

First, Redmond explained that room temperatures are regulated by mixing cold, moist HVAC air with the dry, hot steam that we often see billowing out of various pipes around campus. Over the humid summer, the dry, hot air was shut off in Robinson which allowed the growth of mold in the cold, moist conditions. Redmond assured attendees that there was never any black mold, which is harmful. After testing, it was determined that leaves and wood were the culprits for the traces of mold bacteria via HVAC intake systems that pull in the outside air. After repeating the cleaning and testing method, Robinson is mold-free and completely safe for students.

Next, According to Redmond, while demolishing the third floor of Bunce Hall, asbestos was discovered between the flooring, but the University is working on gaining permits and putting barriers up which would allow students to attend classes as usual without being exposed.

Lastly, Redmond explained that the Student Center Expansion is basically three different projects that include removing the humming sound in the Student Center, scheduled repairs to the existing roof, and fixing air conditioning systems that have been competing with each other to compensate for varied thermostat temperatures in different rooms. Redmond also stated that the wood and decking would be intact soon and the process will be moving more quickly from here.

“I feel like everyone here probably really wanted to know… I meet with facilitates about monthly so every time they give me updates, I’ll be giving them to y’all and if I have anything else too. I have a big announcement probably in two weeks too so I’ll be constantly briefing people on updates,” Redmond said after the meeting.

The next SGA meeting will be Monday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. 

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