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Newly elected senate meets, hears about club funding

| Thursday, April 16, 2020

The newly elected 2020-2021 senate met for its second session over Zoom on Wednesday night. In addition to honoring members of the former executive board, the senate heard a presentation on how the Club Coordination Council (CCC) is moving forward in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This week the meeting was recorded and live-streamed over Facebook Live, as it will continue to be Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. EST.

First, the senate approved the nominations of sophomore Meenu Selvan and freshman Charlie Dapp as assistant student union treasurers. Selvan is the former director of faith and service for Executive Cabinet and Dapp was a member of First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership  (FUEL). 

Selvan said she was eager to take the position because “going to these senate meetings, I saw there were so many people who were passionate about what was going on on-campus, and I still wanted to surround myself with the people who had the same ambitions for Notre Dame. I also saw how club allocation is a sensitive issue, and after participating in that senate meeting, I realized that I wanted to see what was going on a little more, and contribute my skills in that area as well.”

Selvan referred to two senate meetings on Feb. 6 and 20 in which the senate concluded to not allocate more funds to the CCC. 

Dapp said his earlier involvement in student government inspired him to apply for a new position.

“Starting out with FUEL, I got a good idea of what student government could do, and I wanted to help with clubs and help bring the experience of what makes Notre Dame so special to all of the different clubs that are out there,” he said. 

The senate then bestowed the status of emeritus to four former leaders of student government. Senior Elizabeth Boyle was granted the title of student body president emeritus. Junior Patrick McGuire was bestowed student body vice president emeritus status. Senior Linde Ann Hoffman was granted the title of student government chief of staff emeritus, and junior Halena Hadi was bestowed the status of judicial council president emeritus.

“A good example of that [emeritus status] would be Fr. Monk Malloy, the President Emeritus of Notre Dame,” student body vice president, junior Sarah Galbenski said. “He served wonderfully as Elizabeth [Boyle] did, and this is more honorific than anything. Just recognizing her for her work in the past year and making sure she has this recognization going forward.” 

CCC president, junior Ricardo Pozas Garza then took to the Zoom floor to give a presentation on club allocation funding in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To begin, Pozas Garza explained the normal operation of funding by the CCC. 

He said the CCC normally receives 40% of the annual student union budget to allocate to clubs, which normally approximates to $400,000. In order to receive funding, clubs must complete a number of steps, starting with submitting budget requests. The requests are then processed by the club divisions. These are the groups under which clubs fall including academic, cultural, performing arts, social service and special interest.

The budget requests are then subjugated to an internal review before being forwarded to an individual meeting between the CCC and the club in question.

“It goes through three sets of eyes,” Pozas Garza said.

The funding is then finalized during the spring allocation meeting (SAM). This year, the process has looked a little different, as much of it was postponed and must take place virtually.

“Physical presence was one of the key elements of our decision-making process and interaction with clubs,” Pozas Garza said. 

The SAM is now being held asynchronously. Clubs had the opportunity to review slides that explained how funding will be allocated. The clubs then completed a check-in form with the CCC. Clubs completed budget sheets next and will soon conclude digital division meetings. 

Pozas Garza said the CCC advised clubs to not count on any ND Day funding in their budgets, as the fundraising event is still postponed. However, he believed funding from the CCC’s end would remain relatively unaffected.

“We don’t think [the effects of the pandemic] will negatively or to a very significant degree, negatively impact our ability to provide funding to clubs,” he said. 

Additionally, Pozas Garza said about two-thirds of clubs have participated in the virtual SAM.

“I think we have every reason to confidently assert that clubs are successfully engaging with the spring allocation process and submitting their budgets on time,” he said.

The senate then briefly discussed the possibility of finding additional funding for clubs to make up for the loss of ND Day funding. As of now, the Financial Management Board (FMB) and Student Union are considering holding unused funding in a carry-over account instead of transferring the funds to the student union endowment, as unused funds normally are. However, this decision is not final. 

Next week, student body president, junior Rachel Ingal will give the annual state of the union address during the regularly scheduled senate meeting Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. EST.

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