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International nights face future difficulties: Nov. 19 SA meeting

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International nights face future difficulties: Nov. 19 SA meeting

Brianna Schreurs

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Since Students’ Association’s last meeting was two weeks ago, there was plenty of agenda items at its Nov. 19 meeting.

A big topic of the night was the GAF strategic planning updates. On Oct. 30, SA opened up a comprehensive survey for students to give input on how to spend General Activity Fee (GAF) dollars. It closed Nov. 9. Around 3,327 students took the survey.

“The survey was widely promoted and widely used,” Sen. Nick Lorang, GAF strategic steering committee chair, said. “It was a really successful opportunity for us to capture a lot of student input.”

Sen. Lorang said workgroups are now sifting through the data and comments to make recommendations for the plan.

There are five workgroups looking into how to best spend student dollars: Student life, wellness services, transportation, student organizations and athletic facilities and operations.

The workgroups are looking into topics like Union usage hours, a fixed-transportation route, group fitness passes and the athletic deficit and how they can be funded by GAF. They are now making recommendations to the steering committee to assemble in the strategic plan.

Sen. and Athletic Facilities and Operations Chair Amanda Mueller reported the athletic deficit was $2.2 million. Between the university and athletics, it’s been lowered to $1.2 million.

During the ex officio member reports, International Relations Council Ex Officio Josh Anderson reported International Night on Nov. 18 sold out. However, the future of the several international nights, like Nepal Night and India Night, may be in danger because of a new Aramark Policy.

The policy would require all on-campus events serving food to order ingredients and meals prepared and served completely through Aramark.

“Right now, our budget doesn’t allow for that, so we might have to cancel one or two international nights,” Anderson said. “We don’t think it’s really right for us at the beginning of the year to tell our organizations that we can pay for their international nights, because we were before, and now we have to incur another cost.”

The policy was set in place because a number of people become ill from food after an international night earlier in the semester, Vice President of Student Affairs Michaela Willis said.

Because the news broke before International Night Willis said she personally paid for any additional costs IRC didn’t factor into its budget.
“I did recognize that it’s a challenge to be able to have that information come out essentially a week before International Night,” Willis said. “We didn’t just make this decision on a whim … we are still interested in having those conversations.”

Sam Jennings II, dean of students, presented to SA about YOU at State, a new online portal for students to assist students with goal setting—career wise and academic wise—and their personal life. It’s accessed through You.Sdstate.edu.

“This is responsive to you individually and gives you feedback with SDSU resources,” Jennings said.

Students take surveys and receive updates on specific areas they want to improve in their life like sleep or stress levels.

This portal started at Colorado State University. According to their data, students at CSU said 87 percent of students had increased awareness of campus resources, 67 percent of students felt the platform helped them better manage stress and 19 percent learned something new across all three sections.

The program costs $17,000 per year and is funded by a student conduct fund. Around $3,000 was spent as a one-time startup fee this year.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Douglas Wermedal spoke on the new Southeast Housing Project and how the townhouses have opportunities to create new living communities.

“There’s never going to be a better chance for LASA, HEROH, BSA or GSA to have their own community,” Wermedal said. “Even when you do learning communities in the residence halls you’re always a part of a larger community, some of that’s good but some of that takes away from the specialness of living in that community.”

The constitution of the SDSU Yoga Club was also approved. They currently have seven members.

The next SA meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 in the Lewis and Clark Room in the upper level of The Union.

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International nights face future difficulties: Nov. 19 SA meeting