On Oct. 21, Drake Student Senate granted full registered student organization status to two of three applicants. Out of the three organizations, which consisted of Bulldog Company, Epsilon Eta and Finance Society, only Bulldog Company was denied.
According to vice president of student organizations Joseph Owens, a total of ten organizations had shown interest in applying, but seven missed the time-slot deadline to meet with the Organizational Council. This effectively disqualified these organizations from the process. The organizations that missed the deadline were: Turning Point USA, Positivity Project, Drake Swordplay Squad, Economics Club, Arabic Club, Basic Institute for Zonal African Advancement, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
All of the organizations that were unable to apply due to the deadline will be able to apply in the 2022 spring semester.
The senate discussion surrounding Bulldog Company, Epsilon Eta, and Finance Society consisted of a questions and open discussion section, during which senators were to determine whether the organization met the criteria for receiving full RSO status. The criteria are as follows: Is the organization sustainable? Would it provide a community for students? Could it successfully exist without RSO status? Does it align with the Drake mission statement? And does the RSO pose a safety risk?
Bulldog Company is the organizational name for Drake’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, which is a branch of Iowa State University’s Cyclone Battalion. Bulldog Company sought RSO status to further promote their presence on campus. Bulldog Company only sought limited financial support for sending members to events, as it already receives funds from fundraisers and the U.S. government.
During the senate meeting, discussion revolved around the question of whether Bulldog Company can achieve its goals without RSO status.
“Similar to what a lot of people have said, I see this more as a program rather than a registered student organization,” said vice president of student life Connor Oetzmann. “I think that a lot of the things that this organization is trying to get from RSO approval are things that they can still do as a program, which I feel they kind of function as right now.”
Other members of senate expressed concerns about assigning funds to an organization that is already financially stable.
“If [Bulldog Company] is able to do the things that they already can do and it seems like they’re doing quite fine, I don’t know what RSO status could give them,” student body treasurer Hunter Hildebrand said. “In terms of funding, where we do have organizations that do scratch and claw to get every dollar they need, I’m worried that if we are to allocate funds, not specifically to ROTC, but to an organization that doesn’t necessarily need the funds, we’d be taking it away from an organization that does desperately need that.”
At multiple points, senators brought up additional concerns regarding the U.S. military’s issues with culture and race, mental health support for members and concerns that Bulldog Company would function entirely on the basis of recruitment for ROTC instead of acting as a student organization.
The resulting vote for senate was three in support and 14 against assigning full RSO status to Bulldog Company.
Epsilon Eta is a relatively new professional fraternity for students interested in the environmental science field. Epsilon Eta sought RSO status to gain the operational freedom to hold more events related to environmental advocacy, such as their recent trip to the Des Moines farmer’s market and multiple planting events in the past. They’ve also recently partnered with the Animal Rescue League and are planning to work with Drake Environmental Action League (DEAL) and other on-campus organizations for future events.
Epsilon Eta offers a full membership for students with a major or minor related to environmental science and an associate membership for students who are interested in the environment but aren’t studying environmental science. The senate discussion surrounding Epsilon Eta was mostly supportive, with a majority of questions focusing on the specifics of membership and how Epsilon Eta would differentiate itself from the similarly focused DEAL.
“I think that as a whole, DEAL just tries to promote environmental sustainability for anyone on campus, but [Epsilon Eta] is mainly focusing towards environmental science majors or people who just have an interest in applying that to their everyday life or even future job,” said Epsilon Eta co-president Maddie Weinrich.
Following the questions segment of the discussion, nearly every senator shared comments of support for Epsilon Eta.
“With how big of a deal climate change is and the environment in general, I think we should do what we can to expand the support for those who are in the field,” said facilities and technology senator Rhent Addis. “Those people are literally on the front lines of the issue and they’re doing what they can, so I support [Epsilon Eta].”
In an 18-0 vote, student senate unanimously granted Epsilon Eta RSO status.
Finance Society, which is led by student body treasurer Hunter Hildebrand, is a discussion-based organization centered around the stock market’s function in the world and advanced personal finance training. Finance Society sought RSO status to host speakers and events, but the focus of the discussion revolved around the overlap between Investment Club and Finance Society and the issue of diversity in the finance industry.
“I’ll make this clear right now. I will reach out to UNITY Roundtable, the John Dee Bright College, and any other organizations that you feel fit,” Hildebrand said. “Feel free to come to me after this meeting, and we can have this conversation with that group or organization, in terms of increasing [diversity], and we’ve also talked about having a [diversity, equity, and inclusion] statement for the organization.”
For the issue of the overlap between Investment Club and Finance Society, views were mixed, with some members of senate sharing concerns about the high level of finance knowledge needed to participate, while others commented in support of the ability for members to observe and learn through the discussion-based format.
“I know that every school on campus has a million different undecided majors this year, and I think that in the business school there are a lot of undecided business majors,” said College of Business and Public Administration senator Mercedes Hendricks. “I think that having some sort of finance society where they can go and have open dialogue and see if that’s what they’re interested in could be really beneficial, so I do think that this organization would be a good addition.”
Finance Society was granted full RSO status with 17 votes in support, one vote against, and an abstention from Hildebrand due to his position within the organization.