Silence filled the noisy Harvey Auditorium as Benton Hurt, Student Government Association Vice President and junior biology major, welcomed the eager crowd of senators and called the first senate meeting of the semester to order Wednesday night.
After Ben Melton, senior biology major, led the meeting in prayer, the focus transitioned to the meeting’s guest speaker, Director of Student Financial Planning, John Windham.
Windham shared a few words about different changes that have occurred in financial aid and how these changes will impact students.
Windham said that students will have the opportunity to renew their FAFSA application beginning on October 1st instead of the usual January date next year. Students will also be able to file a FAFSA according to their 2015 tax returns.
Windham also spoke about the importance and urgency of making sure that students renew the FAFSA within 60 days after October 1 if they hope to receive the full financial benefits. He said that both he and other Union financial planners were available to talk to different organizations about this FAFSA and other financial needs.
Next, the meeting transitioned to roll call and was soon followed by the swearing-in of the new class officers, led by SGA Attorney General and junior marketing major, Laura Ritcheson.
SGA Treasurer and Christian studies major, Trenton Holloway, informed the Senate that $1800 had been aside to help support the financial needs of each organization when necessary. He also expressed his willingness to assist any organization who needs help writing a bill.
Senior class president, Hannah Willis, and senior vice president, Katherine Caid, presented a bill which proposed a new backboard for the campus pool. They said that the backboard in the pool is in a bad state of disrepair, and a new board would allow lifeguards to better take care of injured swimmers. The bill passed with an overwhelming majority.
After passing the bill, senators were asked to vote for certain students who would occupy various positions within SGA.
Joey Bakeer, senior biology major, was elected SGA President Pro Tempore. He will fill in for the vice president if the vice president is absent. Stephanie Olford, senior psychology major, was elected the SGA Clerk and Ben Melton was confirmed as SGA’s Chaplain.
Jessica Vineyard, senior mathematics major and Students Activities Council President, then shared the success of their first event, Movie on the Lawn. For the next movie showing, students can anticipate the film Finding Dory.
Afterward, the meeting was called to recess and then followed with announcements from various organizations about upcoming events.
For students who have never attended senate before, SGA President and senior public relations major, Kaylee Gibson, encourages them to consider serving in as a senator or simply come and watch.
“Senate is really a fun time even if you’re just watching,” Gibson said. “It can be intimidating…but you catch on really quickly.”
Senate holds biweekly meetings, and each student will receive biweekly emails about new bills that await discussion during the next Senate.
The next Senate meeting will convene on September 21.