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The Ithacan

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

The Ithacan

SGC discusses Appropriations Committee confirmations and role in institutional goals

Ana Gavilanes/The Ithacan
From left, sophomore Caleb Cackowski, vice president of communications for the Student Governance Council, and senior Chief of Staff Olivia Jones listen at the Sept. 11 SGC meeting as SGC President Carli McConnell discusses how SGC can work with college administration on institutional goals.

The Student Governance Council met on Sept. 11 to discuss confirmations to the Appropriations Committee, election information and officer reports. 

The SGC Appropriations Committee works with the Office of Student Engagement to give funding to student organizations. The committee meets Wednesdays at 7 p.m. via Zoom and was looking for a minimum of five members to be on the committee. 

Asata Rothblatt, class of 2026 senator; junior Kathi Hodel, senator-at-large; sophomore Rishabh Sen, vice president of campus affairs; and senior Noah Kamens, club athlete senator, all lobbied to be members of the committee. 

Additionally, seniors Carli McConnell, president of the student body, and Quinn Tufino, vice president of academic affairs, looked to serve as backups for the committee in the event that there were not enough members. 

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Rothblatt, a previous member of the committee, said the committee allows her to learn about the interests of the student body. 

“I like to help people get their clubs and their events started up,” Rothblatt said. “It’s also a really great way to get involved as a senator on campus.”

Sen said he was quite passionate about the committee because it helps students have an enjoyable time at the college through club events and programs. Sen encouraged his fellow SGC members to join the committee, which needs at least five members. 

“I think that having appropriations not run this semester would be a great disservice to our first-year students who won’t really get to see what campus programs are like,” Sen said. 

Kamens said he has experience fundraising while working with the senate chair of club sports and wants to look into the possibility of club athletes using SGC funding. 

McConnell, another former member of the committee, said she enjoyed seeing that side of campus and working with the Office of Student Engagement. 

After all the candidates presented their platforms, the SGC went into an executive session to discuss the candidates for the appropriations committee. All six candidates were confirmed and notified of their confirmation to the committee after the meeting. 

The council then moved on to briefly mention the fall elections. The campaign period began Sept. 11 and will go on until Sept. 16 at midnight. Voting for candidates will open at midnight on Sept. 13 and will close at midnight Sept. 16. The SGC will be setting up a table to increase student engagement with the election from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13 outside of Emerson Suites.

Then the SGC heard a few brief senator reports. 

Sophomore Baneet Pukhrambam, who is an international senator, discussed the new International Mentor Program, which is a collaboration between the Office of International Programs and the Office of New Student and Transition Programs. 

Rothblatt said the new Mental Health and Wellness Committee form was approved by the board of directors and would be having its first meeting within the next two months.

During officer reports, McConnell discussed her one-on-one meeting during the week of Sept. 4 with President La Jerne Cornish. McConnell said Cornish shared the college’s plans for the 2023–24 academic year. McConnell said that at the All College Welcome on Aug. 29, Cornish shared four institutional goals that were derived from the Strategic Plan — recruitment, retention, philanthropy and engagement. 

McConnell said Cornish is excited to work with SGC to support students. 

“Our conversation centered around what can we do as SGC to help the administration reach their goals and just expressing that SGC is for students and we want to do the best we can to help all of our constituents and all of our peers,” McConnell said. 

McConnell also said there are open positions for SGC senators on the academic calendar committee, the parking and traffic committee and the educational technology and advisory committee; the three are all external committees that a few SGC members need to be a part of. 

Sen discussed the campus affairs committee and their work in getting approval for peer mentor programs in Spring 2024.

“I am going to be scheduling meetings with … all the deans to work with them on implementing the pilot program by spring,” Sen said. “I will especially be looking at all the academic senators that could be joining because this is a super academic initiative, and I would really love all your support in working with your respective deans in the professors and selecting peer mentors for the coming spring semester.”

Tufino said he was looking for members for the academic policies committee. Student representatives are needed for assessment curriculum and policy. Additionally, Tufino is looking for an assistant, as is senior Noah Strathmann, vice president of business and finance. 

In the open agenda, Senate Chair Eleanor Paterson discussed the meeting on Sept. 25, which will be the introduction of the new senators to the SGC. Paterson said the meeting would be dedicated to getting the new senators up to speed on everything. 

Furthermore, Sen said the social justice and sustainability committee is looking for someone, including anyone outside of SGC, to be the chair of the committee. 

“Because there was no chair last year, it was suspended, but [McConnell] and I both really want to see it as an active and really interesting committee this coming year,” Sen said. 

At the end of the meeting, Cliff-Simon Vital, the new assistant director for the BIPOC Unity Center, introduced himself. Vital started at the college Aug. 7 and said he has been attempting to attend as many first meetings of different organizations as he can. He said he is working to create engaging events for students on campus. 

“We’ve been working on creating some really great events to reaffirm the safe spaces on campus for BIPOC students and those who are economically disadvantaged,” Vital said. “One of the things we are trying to destigmatize is that our center is only for Black students, and so that means that all individuals are invited to our events and our programs.”

The SGC is the sole representative body for the Ithaca College student community. The SGC can be contacted at [email protected].

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