Student Government approves new club

By Alyssa Sanford                                                                                                       Web Editor

The Student Government (SG) general body meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24, opened with a presentation from TEDxTCNJ, a club “designed to help communities, organizations and individuals spark conversations and connections through local TED Talk experiences,” according to SG’s Governmental Affairs (GA) committee.

On May 3, 2015, TEDxTCNJ held a day-long conference with 13 speakers, eight of whom were students and professors at the College. The club sought formal SG recognition in order to obtain funding from the Student Finance Board (SFB) and to book space for events on campus.

According to TEDxTCNJ’s representatives, TED is an international organization that allows private institutions, like colleges and corporations, to hold smaller conferences with TEDx branding. Essentially, TEDxTCNJ must apply for a license to hold a TEDx conference at the College and each step of the application must be approved by the official TED organization.

Licensing through TED is free, according to TEDxTCNJ representatives.

Last year, TEDxTCNJ relied on the College’s Office of Leadership Director Avani Rana and Brower Student Center Manager Seth Zolin to provide funding and space for the conference in May, but representatives said that this is not an option anymore.

With formal SG recognition, TEDxTCNJ representatives would be able to secure funding for their annual TEDx conference in the spring, as well as host viewing parties for TEDx talks that would be followed by “Socratic discussions” about the talks, representatives said.

The cost of a TEDx conference was about $2,000 last spring, club representatives said.

General body members approved the club with no prior debate.

TEDxTCNJ representatives await SG’s formal recognition.
TEDxTCNJ representatives await SG’s formal recognition.

Executive Vice President Javier Nicasio then introduced a resolution, R-S2016-01, which Vice President of Academic Affairs Darshak Vekaria brought to the attention of general body members on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The resolution, which will be passed along to the College’s Provost Jacqueline Taylor, “(concerns) the matter of the budget and apportionment toward the library,” according to the resolution.

Nicasio explained that the resolution is “basically talking about the budget for extending library hours during finals week.” Because SG can no longer use Student Activity Fee (SAF) funding due to the program’s academic nature, the general body is issuing a “formal recommendation” to the provost to include the cost of keeping the library open in future budgets.

General body members cited statistics that indicated “a sharp decline (in library patronage) in the hours past 3:30 a.m.”

According to the resolution, “TCNJ SG recommends that the library open at 7:30 a.m. and close at 4 a.m., with extended study being accessible till 7:30 a.m. for the duration of the finals period,” which would effectively keep the library open for 24 hours a day, even though the main library floors would close after 4 a.m. Students could still work in the Library Cafe after that point.

President Casey Dowling and Nicasio then discussed upcoming changes to the Brower Student Center, according to Zolin and Dining Services Director Karen Roth.

According to Nicasio, “(renovations to) the Lion’s Den is projected to be completed in the fall,” and the addition to the Brower Student Center will likely be completed this summer.

Dowling revealed that the Lion’s Den will close around Monday, April 18, per her conversation with Roth.

Roth will give a presentation to the general body after spring break about “what they’re looking for with the Lion’s Den,” Dowling said.

“We’re going to give (Roth and Dining Services) feedback on the Lion’s Den… What we like about it, what we don’t like, food offerings, things that we want to see there (in the future),” Dowling said.

Vice President of Community Relations Brittany Angiolini then announced that Youth Outreach Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Student Trustee Kevin Kim updated the general body on the internal lobbying committee, which is doing “a million different things” around campus.

“Since we’re doing a lot of research and requesting things like longer hours (at the library), the main problem is the funding for it,” Kim said. “We’re actually going to start doing a lot of research into looking for grants (and) looking for scholarships (to get funding for these initiatives).”

Adviser Liz Bapasola spoke about a potential “emergency hire” of a new program assistant in the Office of Student Activities within the next few weeks.

The recent retirement of the former Director of Student Activities Tim Asher, was “a big loss,” said Bapasola, who acknowledged that with all of the upcoming spring semester programming, a new staff member at the Office of Student Activities will be essential to making those programs run smoothly.

The program assistant will likely work at the College starting “around spring break time,” and stay on through the summer, Bapasola said.

Senior class President Emily Montagna announced that the class council is finalizing its Senior Week budget. Registration for Senior Week is set to open around Friday, March 11.

“We pretty much have everything set in stone,” Montagna said.

The junior class council is hosting TCNJ’s Got Talent in Kendall Hall on Wednesday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m.

Sophomore class president Kelsey Capestro announced a “date auction” fundraiser on Wednesday, March 23, with more information to come.

The class council will also present to SFB next week to obtain funding for Springback, which will be held on Saturday, April 16, from noon to 5 p.m.

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