By Shawn Gakhal
The Student Government Association met last Wednesday to talk about a number of agenda items, which included the Monetary Award Program, upcoming senate elections and a town hall meeting with SPEED.
President Joseph Knotts began by addressing the senators about a report about university senate representation.
“As far as my report on the university senate, it was discussed that they’re restructuring the university senate and voted on it,” Knotts said. “[The College] of Arts and Sciences will have the same percentage of representation, but there will be a less total number of university senators representing their department. But there was some rearrangement in the percentages of the other departments. I think CCPA might have gained a couple of percentage points.”
Knots then moved on to brief the senators on the March 28 and 29 event “Relay for Life,” in which President Charles Middleton volunteered to get duck taped to a wall for charity.
Vice President Daly Tongren then brought up the MAP Grant Lobby Day trip to Springfield on April 1 and took a headcount on who would be in attendance.
The MAP grant is a program that provides need-based grant money to college students who qualify, which also does not need to be repaid.
On April 1, a bus will arrive at 7:45 a.m. to shuttle all who are interested in speaking with Illinois legislators on the behalf of students in interest of increasing MAP grant funding.
The attention briefly shifted away from the MAP grant event, as Student Trustee Chris Mich spoke about the Board of Trustees’ quarterly meeting.
“The trustees had their quarterly board meeting last week, and the attendance was very, very low to the point where they didn’t even have a quorum to vote on any agenda items,” Mich said. “It was, mostly, updates that were discussed.”
Recently, attendance has also been low for SGA meetings. On March 19, the SGA meeting was cancelled due to low turnout, and just one committee chair was present during the March 26 meeting.
Knotts urged the senators to run for executive positions in the upcoming elections, which are, tentatively, scheduled for April.
“I want to reiterate what a great opportunity it is for any of you who are considering it,” Knotts said. “It’s really going to open a lot of doors for you here at Roosevelt and beyond. It’s a great time. We learn from each other and from the whole environment.”
Jennifer Tani, assistant vice president of community engagement in the Government Relations and University Outreach office, then had the floor to talk about the MAP grant trip.
“So many Roosevelt students rely on these need-based aid grants,” Tani said. “Our state and federal budget are constantly scraping by with all these threats to eligibility and the amount of funding. It’s really important that each year we have students come down to Springfield and directly talk to our legislators. Whether you’re from Illinois or not, your voice is really important.”
Tani elaborated on the problem that exists for many college students that are affected by the lack of MAP grant funding.
“If you go anywhere on campus in the spring, you’ll see signs up that say ‘Apply for FAFSA,’ ‘Apply for student aid,’” Tani said. “And each year, the cut off for MAP grants is earlier and earlier because they cannot fund enough students. It’s a really big problem and a really important priority to support all of our students.”
After the MAP grant trip was mapped out, Knotts concluded with an announcement about a town hall meeting with SPEED on April 15.
“They want to collaborate with the SGA, which is great because we’ve been wanting to do something like that for some time now,” Knotts said. “And we’ll talk about details at future meetings.”