SFB zero-funds Habitat for Humanity and Club Field Hockey, approves ‘ink’ request of $3,577 to bring novelist to College

Conferences continued to trouble the Student Finance Board (SFB) at its March 2 meeting. The board zero-funded conferences for both Habitat for Humanity and Club Field Hockey because each organization received funding for a conference earlier in the year.

SFB policy only permits organizations to receive SFB funding for one conference a year, except when a club sports team wins a regional competition that qualifies it for a national tournament.

Habitat requested $977 to send 12 of its members to the 2005 Collegiate Challenge event in Atlanta, Ga, but received zero-funding by a vote of 10-4.

Dawn Santin, event coordinator for Habitat, said that the volunteers would help build educational facilities for the international Habitat for Humanity organization while on Spring Break. They also would help build housing for other volunteers to use while building homes for the homeless, she said.

Santin emphasized that only one person from the Collegiate Challenge that the group attended over Winter Break would attend the Spring Break event, meaning it would be a new experience for most attendees.

The organization also argued that its request was not just about attending a conference but more importantly about fulfilling its mission.

“This is what we’re here to do,” Craig Cedermark, Habitat president, said.

The board was sympathetic to Habitat’s situation. “This is the purpose of the club,” Matt Civiletti, Student Government Association (SGA) vice president of administration and finance, said, reiterating Cedermark’s point. “It gives the members of the club a real experience.”

“We can’t look at it as we like this club’s mission more than another so we’ll break the bylaws for it,” Ravi Kaneriya, SGA representative, said.

Craig Gross, SFB chairman, reminded the board that to fund the trip, two-thirds of the board would need to vote for it, rather than a simple majority.

In addition, he said the board needs to find a “substantial reason” why the Habitat request was different from that of any other organization’s conference request.

Field Hockey’s $329 request to attend the National Field Hockey 2005 Spring Tournament at the University of Maryland was zero-funded 12-2 for similar reasons. The team had attended the same tournament in the winter with SFB funding.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate of us to suspend the rules (to allow funding for the request),” Kristofer Disharoon, senior representative, said. “It is a policy.”

A joint Jewish Student Union (JSU) and Islamic Society request for $2,500 to bring two comedians to the College as part of Jewish Awareness Month was approved 13-0-1.

Sharon Kohn, JSU treasurer, said that the two comedians, Scott Blakeman and Dean Obeidallah, would bring awareness of the problems in Israel and Palestine in a funny way.

Kohn said their act “Standup for Peace” has been successful at other colleges and has not been controversial. The duo will perform at the College Spiritual Center on March 30.

Ink, the College’s literary organization, received all of its $3,577 request to bring novelist Jonathan Lethem to the College on March 29 by a vote of 12-1-2. Catie Rosemurgy, ink advisor, said Lethem’s novels demonstrate “genre bending and working with pop culture.”

Lethem will visit a class that has read his work as well as perform a reading for the public.

“People do go to these,” Mary Ennis, assistant chairperson, said. “It will be packed or sold out.”

Kobi Wilmot, junior representative, expressed concern that academic departments are using SFB money to fund events the departments are not willing to fund.

“Departments are getting us to do things for them,” he said.

Lions EMS, the College’s volunteer first aid squad, received money for housing the instructors for its Core 13 refresher class for certified EMTs by a unanimous vote.

The three-day course is taught March 18-20 and will recertify the squad’s currently certified EMTs.

The group requested $338 for the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, but the board allocated the cost of a cheaper hotel, such as the Red Roof Inn, as a way to save money.