Astronomy Club approved, more star viewings to come

By Alyssa Sanford
News Assistant

Student Government formally recognized the TCNJ Astronomy Club during the general body session on Wednesday, April 1, and tabled an important bill after intense debate and discussion.

Wells calls for a vote to recognize the Astronomy Club. (Jenn Rén Alford / Staff Photographer)
Wells calls for a vote to recognize the Astronomy Club. (Jenn Rén Alford / Staff Photographer)

Jessica Glynn, vice president of Governmental Affairs, brought the TCNJ Astronomy Club before the general body for recognition following its successful presentation before the Governmental Affairs committee on Sunday, March 8.

The Astronomy Club, which has 28 current members on its charter list and “strong support from the Dean of Science,” according to Glynn, sought SG recognition in order to receive Student Finance Board funding so that it can book trips and speakers.

Astronomy Club President Tim Osborn, a sophomore physics major, said that the club “existed a couple of years ago,” but the executive board “kind of just let it die off.” The revamped Astronomy Club, which boasts a large number of freshmen members, will try to generate a wider interest in astronomy across all classes and majors.

Since the Astronomy Club began convening in Fall 2014, it has been holding regular weekly meetings and popular events like “star parties,” which the executive board plans to hold about once every semester.

According to Osborn, star parties are held at night on Green Hall Lawn, and anyone can come to look at the night sky with professional-grade telescopes from the observatory. The inaugural star party, held in the fall semester, had a significant turnout.

“We had over 70 people show up in 15 degree weather,” Osborn said. “We’re hoping since we can get that many people to come when it’s below freezing that, when conditions are much nicer and when it’s a lot more comfortable to be outside, we can have an even better number.”

President Matthew Wells called for a vote, and the general body voted in favor of recognizing the TCNJ Astronomy Club without debate.

Afterwards, Glynn presented Bill B-S2015-04, which would derecognize clubs that have failed to reapply for SG recognition and have consistently ignored outreaches from the SG cabinet. However, the general body was confused by the complex issues surrounding the bill, making it difficult to call for a vote.

The derecognition bill has been tabled for discussion at a later date, but until then, the Governmental Affairs committee “will take care of it,” Wells said.

Next, Kyle Holland, vice president of Administration and Finance, announced to wild applause that after meeting with the Student Finance Board over the weekend, “we took a $9,000 Student Government budget and turned it into a $27,000 Student Government budget.”

“That’s not including class council (budgets),” Holland clarified.

Vice President of Advancement Sarah Drozd said that interest sessions for upcoming Student Government elections will start on Monday, April 6, and will continue through Thursday, April 9. All sessions will be held in Science Complex P101 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“We want to get a really big turnout of people that are interested in running for elections,” Drozd said.

Later, Navid Radfar, vice president of Student Services, talked about advocacy for a few key complaints that students have expressed: namely, the hours at the gym and at Eickhoff Dining Hall.

Student Services is trying to extend weekend hours at the gym while pushing back weekday hours at Eickhoff from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m. so that students with early classes have a chance to eat breakfast, Radfar said.

Javier Nicasio, vice president of Equity and Diversity, was pleased to announce that TCNJ Epcot was “a phenomenal event.” The event was a celebration of students’ cultures.

Nicasio also announced Equity and Diversity is launching a campaign called “#AskMeAboutMyCulture.” Students will appear in a video and talk about their cultural backgrounds to increase multicultural appreciation.