Student Association hears concerns from student leaders

The Student Association held a roundtable Sunday to bring together student group E-Boards to discuss leadership, coordination and financing groups.

The discussion was meant to elicit dialogue between SA-chartered organizations, and drew members from the Black Student Union (BSU), Haitian Student Association, Chabad, Caribbean Student Association (CSA), the Arabic Association and Angels of the Amazon (AoA).

SA Executive Vice President Samson Widerman said the non-mandatory meeting was planned after mandatory SA group president meetings were not well-received.

“I only know from some articles I’ve read and speaking to our Executive Director David Hagerbaumer that they were not very popular or productive,” Widerman said. “We’ve looked at different approaches, and want to have more small meetings with like organizations where more gets accomplished.”

Widerman explained that the goal of the meeting was to get student leaders together to collaborate, as well as to talk about how they can get more funding.

The groups present also discussed the size of the SA, identifying event planning and funding as two of the biggest issues.

“One of the biggest things we do is making sure groups aren’t doing the same thing as an existing group,” Widerman said. “Is this organization going to be stepping on another’s toes? Are they going to be working toward the same goal in different rooms? Does this organization have something special to offer our campus?”

Madjeen Garcon, a senior majoring in political science and vice president of the BSU, voiced complaints about the vice president for finance’s office and its relations with student organizations.

“Are we the only people having these finance problems? We spoke to the Chinese SA, the Muslim SA, and I feel like we’re all being belittled and spoken to unprofessionally,” Garcon said. “The whole situation with finance is really messing up everyone. You’re going through hurdles to get everything you need. The function of the finance office is clearly disorganized.”

Samantha Meadows, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience and president of AoA — which serves to fundraise for indigenous tribes in the Amazon — advocated for a change from the banquets, fashion shows and talent shows to make way for newer ideas.

“It kind of halts progress, doing the same event for 30 years,” Meadows said. “Only you know what’s best for the moment.”

Meadows also suggested collaboration between different groups to garner a broader student base.

“Clubs need to start thinking about collaborating more, work together,” Meadows said. “Having [CSA] and Chabad working together would bring an interesting group together, and would benefit both of them, especially for smaller groups. It gets their name out and reaches a broader demographic.”