Photo by Ethan Castro (He/him)
On Wednesday, February 20 at 9:15 p.m. in Stuart Building room 113, the Illinois Tech Student Government Association (SGA) held its fourth senate hearing of the spring semester. SGA hosts these weekly meetings in order to approve or deny proposed student organizations, receive weekly updates on projects and meetings from the executive board, and propose and discuss legislation. At this particular senate hearing, the Filipino Student Association (FSA) was approved, three senators were sworn into empty seats, and President Daniel Medina of Intinium presented information about the student organization’s upcoming idea competition.
Co-presidents Jessica Forbes and Kyle Racelis began the meeting by presenting their student organization: FSA. FSA’s purpose is to educate the Illinois Tech and Chicago communities about the Filipino culture. Throughout the semesters, they plan to gather the population of Filipinos at Illinois Tech and host social events such as dancing workshops, where Filipino cuisine will be provided. This organization is not exclusively for Filipino students; everyone is invited to learn about the organization and culture. During questioning, they mentioned that they are planning on hosting three general body meetings each semester, one karaoke event each month, and bigger events once a semester. After they presented, the senate entered a round of discussion where no concerns were raised, with several senators admitting that they would love to join. FSA passed as an organization with 15 votes yes and one vote no.
Next, College of Science Senator Nominee Rishabh Tyagi presented himself to the senate. As a first year student, he wants to get more involved with the campus so he can provide more time and more help to more students, something he promised himself he would do. Tyagi was the president of his student council in high school, and he knows how to get things done and deal with people. If approved, he planned to address issues he faces himself as an international student coming from India – those “taboo” issues that not many people discuss. When questioned by the senate, he asserted that he has not decided what committee he wants to work on yet, but has reached out to SGA on social media. During discussion by the senate, some senators raised concerns over Tyagi’s lack of knowledge/experience with SGA, but they realized that he has a lot of passion and can learn the info he needs. Additionally, his insight as an international student would be very valuable to SGA. Since there is only one open College of Science seat in the senate, there was a motion to table the vote on Tyagi until next week, in case anyone else nominates themselves, but the motion did not pass with 12 votes no and one abstaining member. Tyagi was voted in as a senator with 12 votes yes and five votes no.
After Tyagi, VanderCook College of Music (VCM) Senator Nominee Taylor Muñoz, a first year music education major from Texas, presented herself to the senate. She is currently the vice president of Percussion Club and has previous leadership experience in high school. Muñoz believes it’s important to build a relationship between Illinois Tech and VCM, because the two campuses have so much to offer each other. Additionally, she hopes to communicate all Illinois Tech information to VCM students, starting with pushing VCM students to obtain a hawk email. During questioning, she stated that she knows how to manage time to make SGA a priority, and has attended a Student Life Committee meeting, planning to continue outgoing VCM Senator Steve Traversa’s projects. When the senate entered a round of discussion, the general consensus was that she was full of energy and knows what she wants to do, and no concerns were raised. Muñoz was voted in as a senator with a unanimous yes vote.
The final senator nominee presenting was Celeste Shea, a first year Social Economic Development Policy major representing the Lewis College of Human Sciences. Shea currently works as an intern at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and hopes to represent the small population of students who attend the Lewis College of Human Sciences. She admitted to being ready after her first semester at Illinois Tech to jump into SGA and wants to give students with grievances the power to bring about change. She stated her desire to increase the transparency between administration and the student body. When questioned by the senate, she stated that she is comfortable using social media and web design in SGA. During questioning, senators agreed that she is a good speaker who carries herself well and would represent SGA well. Shea was voted in as a senator with 16 yes votes and one abstaining vote.
Beginning executive reports, Executive Assistant Katja Berthold announced that SGA will be hosting a senator panel at the upcoming Hawk Preview Days as well as the Women in STEM days, where prospective students will be visiting campus to determine whether it is the right fit for them.
Next, Events Chair Henry White announced the upcoming events that his committee is planning for this semester. During the second week of March, there will be an Office of Residence Life (ORL) Town Hall, and during the fourth week of March, there will be another President & Provost Forum. Additionally, in April, the first week will have a Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) Town Hall, and the third or fourth week will have the SGA Banquet.
After the Events Chair, Finance Board Director Antonio Graziano presented instead of Finance Board Chair Jorge Morin. Finance Board Advising will take place from February 25 to March 1, and the Finance Board Hearing results from February 16 are in and online. The next Finance Board Hearing date is on March 9 in MTCC room 202 at 9 a.m. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Chief Justice Erin Monforti presented next, announcing that the Judicial Board is going to perform a constitution review to mend typos, structural inconsistencies, and grammatical errors. Vice President of Communications Narkis Garcia encouraged everyone to read the executive report for updates, and Vice President of Student Life Lin Abu-Amara relayed that Student Life Committee meetings are Thursdays from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. Executive Vice President Monica Bhagavan encouraged senators to review Robert’s Rules in preparation for next hearing’s legislative session.
In place of President Eric Scott, Senator Derek Rhea presented, giving information about the Amendments Amendment, which changes the voting requirements for amendments to the bylaws. Additionally, there is a Student Syndication coalition that will be taking place among student organizations to get their feedback about SGA around the first week of March.
Finally, during Open Floor, Daniel Medina, president of Intinium (previously known as Venture IIT and later Tempus), reviewed the organization’s goals and purpose. He additionally announced Pitch @ Illinois Tech, an idea competition to get students to engage with the community with a $1000 prize.
The meeting minutes can be found online on the Illinois Tech SGA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/iitsga/), and anyone with questions or comments regarding SGA can direct them to [email protected]