With the semester winding down, Student Senate was busy last week with a variety of motions regarding organization approvals, one-time and annual-funding approvals, and endorsements.
The most controversial topic of the night was the motion to endorse Forget Bottled Water’s (FBW) initiative to ban the sale of bottled water at Drake. FBW has collected 740 student signatures and has the support of 40 student organizations.
Representatives from FBW stated that they had the support of Sodexo, provided they prove student interest, and that Sodexo has participated in similar bottled water initiatives on campuses around the country.
The ban would mean that the C-Store would not be allowed to sell bottled water, Sodexo nor any other official part of Drake University would be allowed to provide bottled water for functions or sell it, but students would still be allowed to possess and use bottled water on campus.
However, the ban would not directly apply to Drake athletics as bottled water is its number one product sold and is under contractual obligations regarding the sale of bottled water. FBW did state that Drake athletics has shown willingness to work with FBW to decrease bottled water use where possible.
Over 90 campuses nation-wide have implemented bans of bottled water.
Sen. Stephen Slade expressed concerns over the planning aspect and how the ban would be implemented if it was passed. He also wished to consult the student body more about the issue and hear their feelings before endorsing the initiative. His motion to table the issue until next week did not pass.
Other senators shared Slade’s concern over the planning and implementation, and pointed out the more impractical, inconvenient, and costly aspects of the ban.
Senate voted to endorse the ban with senators Emily Grimm, Ekta Haria, Salwa Janjua, Josh Schoenblatt and Slade voting against the motion.
Drake University Honor’s Magazine was the subject of two motions during Thursday’s meeting. The first was to make the publication an official campus organization, and the second was to approve its placement and funding under the Board of Student Communications.
The current DUH Magazine staff is applying for organization status in order to provide the publication with better organization stability when transitioning from year-to-year and staff-to-staff, while also seeking to cement the content of the magazine.
Breanna Thompson, head of the Student Affairs Committee responsible for reviewing organizations’ applications for official status, stated that DUH Magazine is extremely well prepared, and the committee was actually surprised it was not already an official organization.
DUH Magazine was approved by acclimation.
The second motion was to approve DUH Magazine’s status as being under the BSC.
Thompson said that the SAC believed it was only natural that DUH Magazine joined the BSC as it has been publishing for eight years, and the other Drake publications are already part of the BSC.
With the BSC being under significant revision due to its new autonomy, while DUH Magazine is eligible to be under the BSC, it is unclear when such a step would take place.
Several senators mentioned that another BSC publication had approached them with concerns over whether there would be enough funding for all the publications if DUH magazine was added.
Sen. Slade expressed concerns over what kind of effects passing this approval would have when there is confusion about the process of joining the BSC and said that he was not comfortable passing the motion until senate had answers as to how DUH magazine joining would take place.
DUH magazine was approved by senate to be funded under the BSC with only Sen. Slade voting against.
Bulldog Swing Society was approved as a new organization with senate recommending it add a generic liability waiver for its participants just for precaution.
The student religious group Intervarsity was allocated $2,342 to send 20 members to the Urbana Student Missions Conference in St. Louis, Mo. at the end of December. The money covers transportation and lodging costs.
The Men’s Volleyball Club was allocated $850 to cover registration costs to join the Midwest Plains Conference. The money gains them entry into the four conference tournaments but does not cover transportation, lodging, etc. This is the second year the club has been part of the Midwest Plains Conference, finishing seventh out of 13 teams last year.
The Sportsman’s Club was allocated $2,000 to cover numerous costs associated with putting on its First Shots program, a gun-safety and basic skills program for kids at a local shooting range. The money covers the cost of renting out the range, ammunition and targets for the program, as well as offsetting some of the costs for members to go to the range to receive extra training in order to help put on the program.
Two organizations were granted annual funding by senate, Drake Pharmacy (Rx) Unified Group of Students (DRxUGS) and UNICEF at Drake.
Representatives from Cowles Library appeared before Senate to give a report about the extended library hours and after-hours study space. They reported that in preparation for finals, Cowles hours will be extended to nearly 24/7 and more service staff would be available.
However, they did express concern over the usage of the after-hours space.
According to their data, despite issuing over 800 access cards to the after-hours space, usage is not what they would like, with the largest amount of students they have had using the space at one time being only 20.
They asked senate to help publicize the space and its availability.
Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari stated in his administrative report that Drake has finished screening candidates for a new associate dean of students and would be bringing candidates to Drake beginning either at the end of the week or the week of finals.