Student Senate swears in new Senator

Helena Edwards, Student Government Reporter

The Student Senate meeting Wednesday started off with the swearing-in of Student Senator Natalie Mitlyng.

With former Student Senator Zach Bray quitting his position, the senate is left with 11 senators, 14 being needed for quorum.

Quorum was not met, so an unofficial meeting was  held and the senate could not approve agenda items.

Two reports were given during audience participation.

First for audience participation was from Director of University Housing and Dining Services Mark Hudson to discuss future increase of room and board rates.

Room and board rates are discussed by the Bond Revenue Committee composed of on-campus students and then ultimately sent to the Board of Trustees to approve.

On-campus resident satisfaction is gauged by a series of surveys such as for laundry machines, wireless service connections, and cable connections to then be used in planning the budget.

Reasons for an increase in room and board rates includes the minimum wage increase for student employees that must be accounted for, as well as an increase to resident assistants stipends.

It will be an expected 3 percent increase for the meal plans part of room and board due to transportation costs and an annual inflation rate as Hudson explained.

There is also a liability insurance increase of .047 percent for building replacements if needed.

The last meeting is planned for Feb. 22 for final discussion.

The second audience participation was from Crystal Brown, Assistant Director for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism and Anna Fishbein, Student Engagement Office graduate assistant.

They discussed food insecurity on Eastern Illinois University’s campus and a solution of opening a Big Blue Campus Food Pantry, hopefully being opened during the fall semester by the Civic Engagement and Volunteerism office.

Overall, 40 percent of students deal with food insecurity and among these students 86.4 percent worry about running out of food, 92.6 percent could not afford to eat balanced meals, and 85.9 percent cut the size or skip meals because of money.

There are three food pantries available in town. The Charleston Food Pantry and Standing Stone face the issue of some students not having transportation access to them.

Newman Center Food Pantry is another option that Eastern partners with, but limited hours cause issues for students as well.

To get this put into place they are first asking for a formal resolution of support from the Student Government to show the campus that there is support for it and be willing to spread the word about this.

It was met with opposition due to other pantries already open, Student Body President Noor ul-Haash Khamisani proposing better collaboration with pantries such as the Panther Shuttle to solve transportation issues.

Committee assignments were released for committee chairs, followed by other members:

– Academic Affairs – Prabin Karki; Payton Ade

– Alumni Relations – Marcus Powell

– Business Affairs – Vacant

– Diversity Affairs – Constance Young; Kassandra Amaya

– External Relations – Seth Yeakel; Natalie Mitlyng

– Internal Affairs – Katelynn Alexander

– Student Affairs – Subodh Khanal; Sierra Humphrey

– University Enhancements – Francesco Romano; Paige Thing

The next Student Senate meeting will be Mar. 3 due to the Personal Wellness Day next week.

 

Helena Edwards can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]