Finance director announces club budget hearing dates

Bonfires, campus safety discussed at ASG weekly general assembly

Allegheny Student Government revealed the dates for budget hearings and discussed student life initiatives such as installing fire pits around campus. 

With no guest speaker, ASG’s general assembly began promptly with cabinet reports at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, via Zoom. 

Chief of Staff, Emma Godel, ’21, began her report by announcing that she will be discussing the process of filling student vacancies in college committees with the Chair of Faculty Council Rachel Weir. 

“If there’s any student vacancies in any of these groups, it’s my job to nominate someone and it’s the senate’s job to then approve or not approve that person,” Godel said.

Godel continued, reporting that she believes the ASG constitution should be updated to be more accessible and to include plans for problems involving COVID-19.

“In the event that (a member had) to step down (because of a family emergency or contracting COVID-19), we’d have to get a permanent replacement and the constitution does not have a succession plan for each office lined up,” Godel said. “So long story short, I think that the constitution could use some revisions and that’s something I hope to work on with Trevor (Mahan, ’22) and the Rules Committee.”

Godel concluded her report by suggesting ASG take action to destigmatize mental health on campus and suggested that within the next few years, he Crisis Text Line should be printed on student ID cards. 

“In a perfect world, this would be able to happen for the class of 2025,” Godel said. “Beyond that being said, again, a pandemic basically hits the pause button on all campus operations and affairs. Stickers are also a good idea, and in the meantime, we can always do things like put up posters.” 

After Chief of Staff, Director of Organizational Development Bennett Westfall, ’23, reminded senators to tell their constituents how and when to vote on election day. He also suggested creating a brochure that includes guidelines and the best practices for having club meetings in person. 

“Clubs are very important to campus,” Westfall said. “(They) raise morale, keep people happy and it’s a good thing to be plugged into, so it’s good to see that starting back up. We just need to make sure they’re safe.”

After Westfall, Attorney General Mahan said ASG should strive to be more inclusive.

“I think with the rise of Black Lives Matter as well, we want to make ASG really inclusive,” said Mahan. “We want to make our clubs inclusive and we want to make sure we’re following best practices in that regard. So there’s a lot of ways that we want to update our constitution and then I will be working on that.” 

To finish his report, Mahan reminded the members to tell any new clubs to register with ASG. 

Following that, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs William Walker, ’22, announced he plans to partner with Sustainability Coordinator Kelly Bolton to plan ways that the college can increase sustainability and environmental outreach this semester. 

After Walker’s report, Co-Director of Student Affairs Genesis Pena, ’22, reported that Director of Public Safety James Basinger is searching for two students to be a part of the Subcommittee for Cameras and that senators can reach out to her or the respective director if they have any questions regarding committees and the responsibilities that being a member would entail. 

Following Pena, Director of Finance, Noah Tart, ’22, announced he is working on a potential timeline for budget hearings. The dates for budget hearings are Nov. 4, 5, 6 and 8. 

“I’m going to send the club presidents an email outlining what the goals for the budget hearings are this year,” Tart said. “This year, we’re going to see a reduction in club budgets because the period of time that we’re going to be having budgets will be the end of November to the beginning of April, which really isn’t a lot of time.”

Due to this, Tart explained that he plans on encouraging clubs to focus on long term investments. 

“So an example of (long term investment) might be club soccer, for example, or any club sport, if they want to get equipment, this is the year to do it,” Tart said. 

After Director of Finance, Director of Community Relations Elias Bullock-Moreno, ’23, announced that he plans to use the television studio in the Vukovich Center to create professional-looking content for ASG.

“(Having professional videos and content) adds a lot of authenticity to the things that we say and do, which I think is important to keep that in order to have good community relations,” Bullock-Moreno said.

Director of Communication and Press Bree Gray, ’23 began her report by addressing her goals of inclusivity, accessibility and transparency. Regarding inclusivity, Gray asked the members to include their preferred pronouns in their screen name in order to make all members and constituents feel welcome and comfortable. 

Gray continued her report by announcing that she is redesigning the ASG website and social media to make them more accessible and convenient.

Following Gray, ASG moved into class reports. 

Class of 2021 reported that they are still looking for potential senators and Class of 2023 announced they will be having weekly meetings and are discussing ideas for virtual events this semester. 

President Abdikadir Lugundi, ’21, announced that on the next diversity podcast the guest is an Allegheny 2017 alumnus, Jack Orhman, who is a photographer and award-winning filmmaker. 

“With everything that is going on in the world with social justice, I think it is pretty important to bring him on and talk about his experiences with him and being in the movement and being there kind of as an anthropologist and a photographer,” Lugundi said. 

Lugundi continued by reporting that he and the cabinet discussed hosting a philanthropy event for providing educational support for at-risk youth and marginalized communities. 

“The whole goal is to promote real activism and a sense of community within clubs and organizations,” Lugundi said. 

Following the President’s report, during unfinished business, a discussion ensued about having bonfires around campus to improve student life. 

“I definitely think a bonfire would be a great idea,” Lucas Biniewski, ’23 said. “I mean, bonfires are fun, it’s like an outdoor activity that could be something that you can do socially distanced and we can adhere to college guidelines.”

Pena included that the tentative areas for fire pits would be the Gator Quad, Brooks Quad and College Court.

ASG then moved on to discuss the safety of crosswalks on North Main St. 

Gray explained that there is an issue with people following the speed limit and the visibility of the crosswalks themselves. She suggested that adding flashing installations by the crosswalks could be a possible solution.

“(We’re) kind of working on a way that we can, A: ensure our student safety and B: fix a problem that has been ongoing and has yet to be addressed,” Gray said. 

After some more discussion and tabling it to be discussed further at a later meeting, ASG reappointed Sophie Adams, ’22, to the Finance and Facilities Committee. 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.