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Student Senate supports humanitarian campaigns

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Student Senate heard proposals from many different groups for campaigns and events to support those on campus and around the world.

The senate heard presentations from the ‘Got Swabbed?’ campaign, the Empower Campaign, Senate Appropriations Committee changes, and a respectful language promotional campaign spearheaded by Governmental Affairs Commissioner Jordan Ballinger.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m.-3p.m. in Baker Center, Hillel is holding a ‘Got Swabbed?’ event.  The campaign allows students, faculty and staff to get swabbed to be entered into the bone marrow transplant registry. Upon entering the registry, a person has the opportunity to save a life by donating some of their bone marrow from their thigh or spine to a match in need.

The senate received Haden DeRoberts, a junior at Ohio University, to the floor who is a bone marrow benefactor. He received bone marrow that has allowed him to live. DeRoberts urged everyone in attendance to let others know about the event and come to it themselves because he calls himself, “a walking example of the amazing gifts you can give someone.”

“It’s very difficult find a match. For me, a match came up in the registry and ultimately fell through,” DeRoberts said. “To get two matches is absurdly special, so the more people in the registry, the better.”

Following the “Got Swabbed?’ campaign, Student Senate’s Chief of Staff, Emma Wright, presented about the Empower campaign, a group dedicated to improving access to education for children in Africa. The group funds the building of schools in third-world areas of an African country.

Wright suggested that her colleagues support the organization in it’s fundraising opportunities. Currently the organization is working on 11 schools through donations. Wright suggested many ways for everyone to support the campaign such as sponsoring two children at the cost of $8,00 per month or attending a beer tasting event the group is holding during Dad’s weekend in November. The group also sell jewelry hand-made by women in Africa at tabling events in Baker University Center.

Carter Phillips, Austin LaForest and Zainab Kandeh also made a presentation summing up the potential changes coming to Student Senate Appropriations Commission. The group allocates hundreds of thousands of dollars to student organizations registered through the Campus Involvement Center.

“The funding process is broken, it is one of the most tedious things to go through,” Phillips said. “It deters students from seeking funding because the process is so strenuous.”

The group hopes to change the structure of how groups receive funding. This restructuring is still in the works, but they are hoping to set up a three tier system that will make the process much easier. The top tier of funding, roughly 60% of SAC’s budget, would be put toward large organizations that hold well-attended events, like the Ohio University Programming Council. Lower tier funding was allocated for mid-sized and small organizations, including appropriations for “spot funding” or emergency situations.

They also suggested that all group funding will switch from a semesterly to an annual model, in order to reduce stress on organizations.

The SAC representatives also asked for voting members in the senate. As of now, SAC only has one voting member and they hope to receive more of these positions to represent some students on campus who may not get represented otherwise.

Kandeh, the Campus Organizations Chair, pleaded for a voting position.

“What worries me is that when I speak to students about problems they have, I can’t do anything in this room,” Kandeh said. “We have close relationships with students, and it pains me that I can’t advocate for those students.

The proposition to give more SAC members, including elected At-Large Senators, the right to vote received mixed emotions from the members of senate. Some supported it  on a practical basis while others argued that those voting positions be given to more specific groups like the International, Minority, or Women’s Affairs.

Senator Adam Brown expressed concerns of over-representation by SAC, as it covers over 400 different organizations. He thinks that those students would be better served being represented by more focused groups, and that adding so many votes could lead to dilution of voting power.

Ending the night on a positive note, Jordan Ballinger proposed a new resolution that he, along with other senators, is writing that will promote respectful language on campus. The practical application of this resolution would be a promotional campaign aimed at bringing attention to improper language use toward minority populations on campus.

Ballinger cited the success of last year’s “It’s a Culture, not a Costume” promotional campaign organized by Students Teaching About Racism and Society, hoping to emulate it’s effect.

“We thought it would be a safe bet to write a resolution to help combat certain problems that are occurring on our campus when it comes to disrespectful language,” he said.

This resolution would lead a charge all over campus to change the mindsets of all students as to what is, “proper and improper, respectful and disrespectful,” according to Ballinger.

This campaign hopes to be a symbolic gesture that senate is looking to move past recent controversy.

“We have made mistakes, we know it, now let’s move forward,” Ballinger said.

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