Photo by Ethan Castro (He/him)
On Wednesday, February 6 at 9:15 p.m. in Stuart Building 113, the Illinois Tech Student Government Association (SGA) held its second senate hearing of the spring 2019 semester. Although it should have been the third, the previous week’s hearing had been cancelled due to the extreme cold and the closing of the school. These now weekly meetings are held to approve or deny proposed student organizations, give and receive updates on various projects and staff meetings from executive board members, and hear about the progress of the senators’ projects. At this particular hearing, no student organizations presented, making the session remarkably shorter than those in the past, which typically reached the two-hour mark.
Starting out the hearing, potential senator candidate Daniel Medina presented his reasons for wishing to represent the students of the Armour College of Engineering as a senator. Medina is a second-year Biomedical Engineering student who strongly believes in the potential of Illinois Tech. He is the current president of Tempus Group, which was previously known as Venture IIT and approved by the SGA to become a student organization only last semester. His goals as a senator include working closely with his peers to help their projects succeed, providing more opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research, transforming classrooms to make them more interdisciplinary, and solving conflicts between students and faculty.
After Medina presented himself, the members of SGA asked him questions such as how he would deal with potential time constraints, as being involved in Tempus Group will most likely eat up a lot of his time. Medina explained that his work with Tempus Group corresponds closely with and supports his potential senator position. Additionally, when asked how he would assist SGA in gaining more credibility with students and faculty, Medina suggested being more human and making sure students know that they are being heard. Medina was sworn in as a senator over a copy of Robert’s Rules after being voted in with 16 votes for and one vote against.
Administrative Assistant Katja Berthold began the executive reports by announcing that the MTCC Bridge Project schedule has been sent out. The Bridge Project consists of senators sitting at a table on the Bridge in MTCC before, during, and after the university lunch period in order to provide greater transparency for all students. Anyone can stop by and ask questions about current projects and goings-on in SGA, and candy will be provided for those willing to stop by and complete a survey about SGA’s progress.
Next, Events Chair Henry White announced the success of the first implementation of the Fire Alarm Project, which took place on Tuesday, January 30. The Fire Alarm Project began as a way to provide students with things like candy and hand warmers when the fire alarm goes off in McCormick Student Village (MSV). Senators reported a majorly positive response, and one student was paraphrased as saying “wow, fire alarms aren’t so bad if you get free stuff!” This project was headed by Senator Jamie Borden.
Finance Board Chair Jorge Morin then announced that the next Finance Board Hearing will be on Saturday, February 16 in MTCC room 202. Additionally, he is opening the floor at next week’s senate hearing for students to ask questions about the Student Activity Fund (SAF). The SAF is currently digital and can be found on the SGA website: https://sga.iit.edu/finance-board/.
Chief Justice Erin Monforti mentioned in her executive report that she is hoping to plan a forum for student organizations and SGA for anyone who has concerns or questions about the SAF.
Then, Executive Vice President Monica Bhagavan stated that the process for proposing a new student organization will be getting easier to find soon. Additionally, she is looking to help bring change to Title IX procedures, and encourages students to reach out with anything they are looking to improve about them.
Finally, President Eric Scott announced that Patrick Fina is the new SGA advisor and will be attending all hearings to provide insight and helpful guidance. Prior to Fina, Dean of Students Katherine Stetz served as SGA's advisor. Additionally, Scott has drafted a bit of legislation that senators can comment on to present to the University Faculty Council. This legislation intends to better prepare students and the university for threatening occurrences (such as extreme weather).
The hearing concluded with senators moving to their committees to discuss plans for the upcoming weeks. The meeting minutes can be found online on the SGA Facebook page, and anyone with questions or comments regarding SGA can direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.