The Binghamton University Student Association (SA) hosts an annual Fall Leadership Conference for more than 450 students groups, but this year, 39 of them failed to attend and are facing punishment.

On Sept. 8, the SA invited all presidents and vice presidents of student groups to their conference to inform them of resources and information that aim to help leaders successfully run their organizations. According to Erin Bishop, executive vice president of the SA and a senior majoring in economics, different student groups missed the event for a variety of reasons.

“In part [it] was either that they didn’t see the email, or that their predecessors never mentioned to them about this yearly, mandatory event,” Bishop wrote in an email. “Organizations have had issues with transitioning to a new executive board, and this problem is prevalent in the attendance of this conference.”

In order to combat the lack of attendance, Bishop noted in the most recent SA Congress meeting she would be instituting penalties for the groups that did not show up. These penalties include temporary suspension of the organization’s B-There account, a system that allows groups to make room reservations for events. In order to reserve rooms without B-There, leaders need to meet with the event planning advisor, who would then evaluate how the particular student group runs their organization and work with them in order to ensure smooth operations for the club’s future.

Bishop wrote the penalties will offer encouragement rather than punishment.

“The purpose of this penalty is not to punish groups, rather than to ensure that they get the guidance they need,” Bishop wrote. “A big part of these ‘advisory meetings’ between the group and my adviser is also to encourage groups to think about their long term goals, to keep legacy notes and make sure they have well-trained successors.”

According to Abigail Stark, an SA Congress representative and sophomore majoring in anthropology, a Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) event on diversity training also occurred at the same time as the Fall Leadership Conference. Stark wrote in an email that the SA will aim to avoid such conflicts in the future.

“In future semesters, the SA is going to be sure to schedule the conference at a time during which competing events aren’t being held,” Stark wrote. “They’re also going to try to publicize it more.”

Sarah Starace, president of Binghamton Cheese Club and a senior majoring in biology, was one of the leaders who attended the conference, and said it included valuable information.

“It mostly discussed the obligations of group leaders and the rules of the SA, including some policy changes like the food policy,” Starace wrote in an email. “I think the leadership conference is a great way to have group leaders meet and mingle in order to make club relations that maybe they otherwise wouldn’t make.”