The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate held its first regular session of the semester on September 1, 2021. Recordings of the live streams of the meeting is available via the "Illinois Tech Student Government Association" YouTube channel. The Senate had a guest speaker, considered three organizational proposals, confirmed members to the special committee, and announced a change in leadership.
Guest Speaker: Dean Stetz
Dean of Students Katherine Stetz was invited to offer some words to welcome the campus community back for the fall semester. Dean Stetz was excited to have students back on campus and wanted to inform students about several initiatives. First, Hawkhouse is ready, and in the near future, a Women's Center will be rolling out. Second, she discussed the results of a recently completed campus climate survey. Finally, she addressed the recent supply chain issues Chartwell's dining has been experiencing.
Organizational Proposal: Society of Women in Space Exploration
Kejsi Bishaj, Senator Meghana Tamhane, and Kassidy Moy proposed that Illinois Tech form a chapter of the Society of Women in Space Exploration (SWISE). The goal of SWISE is to discuss space exploration and the contribution of women to the field. Events would include speaker events, conferences, trivia nights, and networking opportunities.
Senator Lucy Kegley asked about the logistics of renting a car for conferences. Senator Derek Rhea asked about what separated SWISE from existing space-related student organizations. Administrative Justice Nabeeha Syeeda asked about how the organization was estimating its conference attendance. In discussion, Senator Rhea pointed out the clear differences between the proposed organization and existing organizations. The organization was approved with 15 votes in favor and none against (15-0-0).
Organizational Proposal: Illinois Tech Roundnet
Anthony Banuelos and Neil Dhote proposed an organization to bring roundnet (also called spikeball) to Illinois Tech. Events would focus on playing roundball, a 2v2 game that uses a trampoline.
During the discussion, Senator Rhea thought the variety of events the organization proposed was fairly minimal. Senator Kegley thought that the organization would be a good addition to campus by encouraging people to be outdoors. The organization passed with 10 votes in favor, 1 vote against, and 3 abstentions (10-1-3).
Organizational Proposal: Engineering World Health
Serena Kinkade and Shelby Kroeger proposed that Illinois Tech form a chapter of Engineering World Health (EWH). EWH is a global organization focussed on letting engineering students learn about health technologies in the context of serving under-resourced communities. The organization would focus on fundraising for the Campus to Country program (a class culminating in a three-week experience in an under-resourced country, followed by a conference), kit-building to provide medical technology kits to under-resourced areas, and partnering with Tau Beta Phi for K-12 outreach.
Senator Kegley asked about how the chapter planned to avoid developing a "savior complex." Senator Rhea asked about the organization's budget and if it can secure outside funding streams. During the discussion, Senator Kegley stated that she felt uncertain of the intent of the organization's trips. Vice President for Academic Affairs Sandy Orozco raised the issue of how motivated (by local needs) the trips would actually be. The organization passed with six votes in favor, two votes against, and six abstentions (6-2-6).
Special Committee Confirmations
Senator Rhea, Senator Tamhane, and Senator Benjamin Kramek requested to be part of the special committee reviewing the SGA governing documents. There was a friendly amendment offered and accepted to fill the fourth Senate position with Senator Na'im Muhammad. The motion passed with seven votes in favor and 2 abstentions (7-0-2).
President Benjamin Barber gave an update on the office move and announced that nominations were opening to fill the Stuart School of Business Senate seat. The nomination form is available on the SGA Slack. SGA Advisor Rachel Hirsh discussed Homecoming Week. SGA Executive Vice President (EVP) Keru Omad announced that she had been asked to resign. An EVP nomination form is available via the SGA Slack.
Nova Ammerman raised the issue of the cost of the required student dining plans and the lack of an option to opt-out. Finance Board Vice-Chair Francisco Barba asked about what had happened to the student parking ticket review board. Senator Muhammad announced the upcoming Resident Housing Association meeting. Senator Kegley pointed out that Cunningham and Kacek residents need dining plans. Senator Kegley and Advisor Hirsh both pointed out the benefits of maintaining at least a partly virtual meeting.
The next SGA Senate meeting will be held at 9:15 pm. on Wednesday, September 15. The meeting will be held on Zoom, and a live stream will be available via the "Illinois Tech Student Government Association" YouTube channel. Links are available on the SGA website (sga.iit.edu).