By: Kerry Garrett
The Student Government Association met on Feb. 3 and Feb. 10 to discuss funding requests and upcoming events and hear from administrators.
Laura Harlow, director of institutional equity and inclusive excellence, visited the meeting to discuss her role and how she is a resource for students. Also serving as the Deputy Title IX coordinator, she handles any concerns or reports of discrimination or sexual harassment on campus both among students and between students and faculty or staff.
Since this is a wide umbrella, resolving these issues can vary greatly depending on the circumstances, but she said the most important thing is giving students autonomy. Meetings with Harlow can be as confidential as the student is comfortable with, and can range from a single conversation, to arranging new course material, to redirecting the student to someone else who can grade their work.
The Office of International Student Services, represented by SGA Senator Shamiso Chigadza, requested funding for the 2023 International Food Festival. During this annual event, international students can showcase their culture through food, which is prepared by the students and served to attendees from IU South Bend and the surrounding community.
Events like these increase diversity and give people a chance to break out of their Midwest ennui and experience something new. The event will be open to everyone for a small fee, reduced for IU South Bend students and children under four years old. All were in favor of funding the event, and the motion passed.
The SGA also heard a funding request from the History Club, who are planning a trip to Virginia during spring break. They will visit Mt. Verne, where George Washington’s home is, and the Historical Triangle: Jamestown, Williamstown and Yorktown. This trip is open to all students, regardless of major, and is a great opportunity to learn, make memories and gain experience. All were in favor of funding the trip and the motion passed.
Another funding request came from the Advertising and Marketing Club, who are planning a trip to the 2023 Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day, which was held at Columbia College on Feb. 17. All were in favor of funding the trip. It was an opportunity for students to gain valuable mentoring and insight and help build networks as well as resumes. Students had the opportunity here to connect with representatives of major companies, such as Wall Street Journal and Paramount, according to previous trips.
Cabinet reports discussed student conduct, committee updates and website redesign. The committee reports discussed sending out a survey to housing, vetoed a potential SGA dinner at Potawatomi Park, and gave reports on student engagement.
Afterwards, former SGA president Roger Pinto spoke to the board about a variety of topics. Prior to his time at IU South Bend, where he majored in sociology and political science, he was an army paratrooper in Afghanistan and later opened a brokerage firm in South Bend. He was also a major advocate for the Veterans Association.
He emphasized the importance and influence of student government on a campus like IU South Bend and encouraged students to speak out if they notice any damaging and restrictive policies against curricula on the AP and collegiate level. He told a number of life stories, and reminded the SGA of the importance of communication and conflict resolution, which are perennial issues of the professional world.
The SGA meets every Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in SAC 206. The meetings are public, and students are encouraged to attend. Student groups interested in requesting funding for events or operations can do so through the SGA’s Titan Atlas page.