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Student Senate passes multiple funding measures, discusses bylaw changes

BY IAN KLEIN

At its Feb. 15 meeting, the Drake University Student Senate passed a plethora of motions allocating funds to student organizations on campus. Organizations that requested funds from the Senate included the Drake Outdoor Leadership Club, Golf Club, Coalition for Black Students and Weightlifting Club. The Student Fees Allocation Committee met with representatives of each group to review the funding requests before allowing the groups to present in front of the Senate.

The Drake Outdoor Leadership Club (DOLC) – whose mission, according to the Senate motion, is to “teach people how to be engaged citizens in the natural world through activities like rock climbing, hiking, camping and conservation” – plans on taking some of its members to Moab, Utah, in March to perform hands-on conservation work and learn leadership skills through outdoor activities such as camping.

DOLC members explained to Senate the impact this trip could have on Drake’s campus, expressing their desire to partner with other groups on campus in order to expand students’ knowledge on conservation and taking personal initiative in protecting the environment.

DOLC members said they will engage in a “Leave No Trace” seminar on the trip, which DOLC Secretary Mallory Karr said will be a focus of the group when they return to campus. Karr also said that while on the trip, DOLC members will “be working on other leadership skills with those who come on the trip and bring them back to Drake with continuing our efforts to improve the entire campus.”

DOLC requested a total of $2,421.00 for the excursion, and the cost brought dissent from some senators. College of Arts and Science Sen. Emily Anderson expressed concerns over the time of the trip – which will take place over spring break – and College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Sen. Alex Maciejewski noted that because the students are driving to Utah, the gas mileage reimbursement would be over $2,000 alone.

Student Services Sen. Samantha Bayne approved of the DOLC funding request, arguing that the trip would benefit all of campus.

“I’m really excited about this because of the ‘Leave No Trace’ training that I don’t think any other organization has brought back to campus or even Des Moines,”  Bayne said.

The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 13-7.

The Drake University Golf Club requested Senate funds for the group to compete in a tournament in Bellevue, Nebraska in March. The funds covered the costs of registration, transportation and lodging fees after the Senate decided to remove a provision that would fund driving range practice fees. The Senate passed the amended motion unanimously.

The Coalition of Black Students (CBS) will be attending the Big XII Conference in late February. The mission of the conference, according to the Senate motion, is “to uplift and empower the Black community through leadership, academic excellence, spirituality and political action to enhance Black legacy.” CBS requested $3,500 in additional funds and the Senate unanimously passed the motion.

The final funding request of the Senate meeting came from the Drake Weightlifting Club, whose members were requesting finances to cover the cost of attending the Arnold Classic event, which teaches attendees about new weightlifting and fitness methods. Members of the Weightlifting Club told Senate that members who attended the event last year brought back advice on weightlifting form, new ideas for new workouts and nutrition recommendations. The Weightlifting Club has in the past informed Drake students on methods to improve physical fitness through its “Summer Body 101” program, which the club plans to hold again later this semester.

Senators were concerned that the Weightlifting Club did not seek outside sources for funding and moved to amend the funding request so that each member of the Weightlifting Club going to the event would provide $50 to cover the cost of attending the event. With the amended motion came the unanimous approval of the Senate.

The last significant segment of the Senate meeting was the discussion of proposed amendments to the bylaws of the Student Fees Allocation Committee (SFAC). If enacted, these bylaws would change the means by which student organizations can reallocate funds within their budgets.

Student Body Treasurer Trevor Matusik said that under these bylaw changes “(a)nybody looking to reallocate money from one line-item to create a completely different event will not be allowed to do so unless they are using unspent funds from a line-item in that budget that is passed.”

Matusik continued, “This is far more to encourage people who create their annual budgets to talk with whoever will be next school year’s leaders or executive members so that they are planning their yearly events out further in advance and are following their budgets as closely as possible.”

The Senate decided to table the SFAC motions and will continue the discussion at this week’s meeting. Student Senate meets weekly on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. in Room 201 of Cowles Library.

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