North Dakota State Student Senate finished up the month of September and the beginning of the fall semester with key Student Government appointments and important announcements from President Dean Bresciani at its final meeting of the month on Sept. 30.
President Dean Bresciani began his announcements by informing the Student Senate that this academic year “is going to be the most exciting time in NDSU history.” With low enrollments, budget uncertainty, and an economy that is just beginning to recover, NDSU’s Student Government is going to be tackling substantial issues during the remainder of the academic year.
Bresciani announced that NDSU will soon begin a major capital campaign, looking to raise $350 million to $400 million. To put this into perspective, NDSU garnered a total of $59.8 million in the 2017-2018 academic year in private fundraising.
Bresciani announced that the major prospect of the additional funds will be Sudro Hall and continuing expansion in the College of Health Professions, which he said is a result of higher demand in the field. The school is looking to expand the nursing program to handle a greater capacity of students and is preparing to launch a new major in the college, health administration.
Bresciani discussed the upcoming legislative session, scheduled to begin at the start of January, and what outcomes NDSU should be expecting, including major capital projects and to secure a more stable budget for NDSU.
Bresciani told the student senators that after having conversations with legislators, it is looking more optimistic that NDSU will see replacements for Dunbar Hall and Harris Hall. Beyond funding, Bresciani discussed how he and President Mark Kennedy of the University of North Dakota have been lobbying state legislators to reevaluate the higher education funding model, which is currently the same for all state universities and colleges, to create an alternative funding model for the state’s research institutions, NDSU and UND.
Bresciani ended his statements to the Student Senate by complimenting the student institution: “You model what a public institution should look like.”
Student Body Vice President Marissa Pacella, who is also president of the Student Senate, began by announcing the Constitution and Code Review Committee, tasked with evaluating and revising the Student Government Constitution and Code, and congratulating Student Body President Chase Grindberg and Dominic Fettig, the executive commissioner of Academic and Student Affairs, for their work on open educational resources at NDSU.
Executive commissioner of finance Zachary Sanger and assistant executive commissioner Chad Blank discussed the current status of NDSU Student Government’s budget. Current numbers put in the In-Year Request at $21,750 and the Reserve at $264,033.96.
The executive commissioner and assistant executive commissioner of External Affairs, Landen Einarson and Joseph Vollmer, announced three plans: a GOTV campaign leading up to the Nov. 6 elections; the next meeting for NDSA will be in Williston Oct. 12-13 and the Blood Drive taking place Oct. 23 in the Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center.
Following the reports by the Student Government executive team, Senate proceedings began with the appointment of two senators to the Student Fee Advisory Board (SFAB), the Student Government entity that determines the values of different student fees across campus.
The appointment procedure began with each nominated senator delivering a 2-minute speech to their colleagues, followed by a round of five questions. The nominated senators discussed various issues, including student fee increases, budgeting, interactions with student organizations and student constituents and their personal experiences with financing.
Following, the Student Court distributed ballots for which all senators were the given the option of voting for two nominated senators to be appointed to the SFAB. Student senators William Fleck, College of Science and Math, and Calvin Benson, College of Business, were elected and appointed to the Student Fee Advisory Board.
The Senate also considered senator appointments to the Student Media Board and the Constitution and Code Review Committee.
Following appointments, the Senate addressed student concerns, beginning with student senator Elizabeth Schoenenberger, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science (AHSS), who heard from her constituents about their concerns over having packages delivered to the bookstore. Genesis Knoblach, College of Health Professions, addressed student concerns over Student Government’s transparency and lack of outreach. William Fleck brought up an instance in which a student was confused over curriculum changes. Ivan Wognin, College of AHSS, discussed concerns over active shooter preparedness and discussions with Campus Police. Then Lindsey Pouliot, College of AHSS, discussed the matter of Student Government not communicating well enough to the student body.
At the Sept. 30 meeting, Kylee Arndt, College of Engineering, was selected as the Senator of the Week. Arndt is a junior in electrical engineering and a freshman senator.
Following announcements, the Student Senate adjourned at 6:30 p.m. until Oct. 7.
Student Senate will meet every Sunday in October at 6:30 p.m. for which all students are welcome to attend as the public and offer their opinion during public comment, which takes place at the beginning of Senate proceedings.
During October, Student Senate will host five guest speakers: William Burns, director of the Counseling Center, and Jordan Dadez, coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life, on Oct. 7; Erin Gillam, president of Faculty Senate, on Oct. 14; Danielle Girtz, president of Campus Attractions, on Oct. 21; and Paul Wraalstad, director of operations for the Memorial Union, on Oct. 28.
The second round of nominations for the Student Media Board will take place Oct. 17. The second round of nominations for the Constitution and Code Review Committee will take place Oct. 17.
The North Dakota Student Association will be having its second meeting at Williston State University on Oct. 12-13.