Photo: Taylor Soule
Although the year is winding down, the penultimate meeting of the 25th session of Student Senate certainly was not short on agenda items.
Senators were faced with four motions and four previous notices in the meeting on April 19.
First on the agenda was to approve the Drake University Voice of Choice as an official organization on campus.
“We think it’s really important that we have an advocate of reproductive health and choice on this campus,” Cate O’Donnell, president of the club, said.
Senate was also faced with three funding allocations.
The Drake Mascot team was allocated $1,100 for registration costs associated with attending a camp over the summer in Milwaukee.
“Our goal as ‘Spike the Bulldog’ is for you to not know who is Spike at any one time,” Sean Conard, member of the mascot team, said. “We want a really good Spike to represent Drake well and represent Des Moines well.”
The Drake Men’s Soccer Club was also allocated $461.99 for costs associated with starting the club “to promote the sport of soccer and give students the opportunity to play in a less-competitive setting.”
The final allocation of the meeting also sparked the most discussion among senators. The motion allocated $3,225 for three members of Student Senate to attend the LeaderShape Conference.
“I think it’s a lot of money spent per person, and I would like to see more tangible results,” Vice President of Student Life Jessica Hamilton said.
“I would like to see things like this come out of the Student Senate budget,” Sen. Sam Pritchard said. “Maybe it’s not appropriate to spend student funds on three individuals.”
Some senators felt that the opportunity to attend the conference should have been opened to the entire campus, while the motion did pass, Senate decided not to select members to attend the conference until the opportunity could be fairly advertised to members of Senate committees.
Motions having been served previous notice included bylaw amendments concerning resignation procedures, Diversity Interest senator and Organizational Council positions and an amendment to the Drake Student Senate Fees Handbook to address annual funds for travel.
The Final Meeting for the 25th Session
The final meeting of this year’s Student Senate last Thursday focused largely on the Quasi Endowment Fund — a stock of money from student fees invested in interest-yielding accounts.
The account currently holds about $150,000, and a new proposal would put a soft cap on the account at $125,000, at which point the account would be drained to address student concerns until it reached $100,000. Then it would be allowed to grow again and repeat the cycle. The proposal also suggested that the current excess be spent on a “capital project with a focus on campus communication.”
The inclusion of this suggestion in the proposal was debated with concern that it would limit future sessions’ options in spending the money. It was established, however, that as a mere guideline, the wording did not bind anyone in any way.
Sen. Erin Hogan was one advocate for the inclusion of the guideline, citing that publicity for various student functions currently sits at around $15,000, most of which is spent on the various posters around campus that are quickly tossed by the wayside. Improving campus communication, she said, would help this problem.
Ideas for spending the fund as of now include the construction of a large posting wall on campus for various student groups.
Sen. Sam Pritchard questioned this proposal, suggesting that Olmsted had several places already designated for this purpose.
The final plan for spending the excess money will be determined by a future session.
Funding for the Board of Student Communications also came up for discussion. Currently, the board receives a set percentage of the student activity fee. Various members suggested that this be evaluated, as they didn’t believe an increase in the student activity fee, which happens often, necessarily constitutes more funding for the BSC. Instead, it was moved to look into having BSC funding allocated out of the student activity fee by Senate.
A pre-dental club was approved. Pritchard questioned the existence of pre-dental students at Drake, and several other senators quickly noted they knew one or many.
Drake’s Students in Free Enterprise received funding to attend nationals after a strong first-place showing at regionals.
To Write Love on Her Arms received funding to send members to a leadership conference.