Student Senate approve room, board increase

Mark+Hudson%2C+Eastern%E2%80%99s+executive+director+of+university+housing+and+dining+services%2C+points+to+the+misprint+and+explains+the+error+at+the+Student+Senate+meeting+Wednesday+night+at+7th+Street+Underground.+The+rate+for+housing+and+dining+is+increasing+three+percent.+

Rob Le Cates

Mark Hudson, Eastern’s executive director of university housing and dining services, points to the misprint and explains the error at the Student Senate meeting Wednesday night at 7th Street Underground. The rate for housing and dining is increasing three percent.

Katja Benz, Student Government Reporter

The Student Senate approved the three percent increase to the room and board fees for the 2022-23 academic year with a vote of 15-1-2.

The senate’s vote is only a recommendation to Eastern’s administration, so they have an idea of how students feel about the increase and is not the final say on if the increase is happening.

The fee increases include inflation, minimum wage increases and the microfridge pilot program.

The cost of room and board combined per semester with the increase is between $4,817, $140 more than each 2021-22 semester, and $6,282, $1,008 more than this semester, depending on room type and meal plan selection. 

The total room and board cost for the year with the increase is between $9,634 and $12,564.

Senator Okyekachi Okoh said she abstained because she thinks the fee increases are too high, especially for students who have to pay those fees themselves.

The senate approved an emergency bill to make Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society an Eastern Registered Student Organization at their meeting Wednesday night.

Alpha Alpha Alpha is a national honor society founded in 2018 for first generation college students. In order to be invited and initiated, students must have at least a 3.2 grade point average and be a first generation college student. They must also have spent two semesters at Eastern in order to receive an invitation.

Adam Reedy, the advisor of Alpha Alpha Alpha and an educational specialist for TriO, said it is vital to have these connections for first generation students.

“(This honor society is for) making connections between our student members, our alumni who have graduated and are now transitioning out of college, and faculty or staff who could be good professional mentors to our students,” Reedy said. “Mentorship is actually one of the keys and retention for students, especially first generation students, we found out. So, it’s very important to have this opportunity for any first year student who wants to join.”

Darriona Thurman, a senior fashion merchandising major, is the president of the honor society. She said that even when she was a freshman, she wished she had the type of support that Alpha Alpha Alpha provides.

“The whole time that I’ve been here, I haven’t had that type of support,” Thurman said. “And I just feel like even me having a group or even a faculty member who can support me would have been great throughout this time. So hopefully, that will be the goal for new members that are planning to come in.”

The senate also discussed adding a student center in the basement of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, close to the hair salon.

Senator Karolina Guzek is part of the committee that is pushing for this space. She said the space has potential to be a good lounge area for students.

Senator Connor Mellott said that the lounge would be beneficial to students, as it will create another spot for relaxation on campus.

Senator Natalie Mitlyng said that the lounge would be a great way for underclassmen to meet other new students like them.

However, the lounge’s plans will not go into action until the next year’s budget cycle.

The senate also discussed various tabling events throughout the coming weeks, so students can ask questions about various aspects of campus including the room and board fee increase.

 

Katja Benz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]