News | Student Life

SGA reviews endowment fund proposals, discusses guest meal swipe initiative

The Barnard Student Government Association discussed proposals on how to use its $50,000 endowment fund and gave an update on a new initiative allowing Barnard students to swipe guests into dining halls—instead of using points—at its general body meeting Monday evening.

Endowment fund proposals

Vice President for Finance Evelyn McCorkle, BC ’18, presented six endowment fund proposals that had been reviewed by Chief Operating Officer Robert Goldberg, Vice President for Finance Eileen Di Benedetto, and SGA’s Financial Review Committee prior to the meeting. Following a simple majority vote by SGA, each proposal was selected to move forward with the process, meaning that applicants would meet with the appropriate administrator to determine final costs.  

The SGA Endowment Fund, established in 2012, serves to fund projects that enhance the student body experience. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for projects they believe will affect the most students possible and contribute to the larger academic community. The council then chooses which projects to fund based on idea quality and financial feasibility.

The endowment fund available for projects this year has increased to $50,000, which is a 13 percent increase since last year’s $44,000 fund. In 2014, the fund amounted to $17,000.

Examples of successful past proposals include free thermoses provided to the student body and the mural painted in Hewitt Dining Hall last year, as well as the addition of printers and computers in Elliott Hall in 2014.

This year, new seating for the Diana Center was proposed. McCorkle said this was inspired by student complaints about the lack of available seating in the student center. Six different options of furniture—ranging from $1,338 to $28,500—were presented to SGA. While the highest price point included all six options, a combination of options could be chosen to reduce costs.

Another proposal suggested creating a pilot program to open the Diana rooftop to students next spring for a few hours during lunch time, two days a week for 10 weeks. The money would go toward paying Public Safety officers monitoring the space. Unlike other proposals, which are based on prices estimated by the candidate and an SGA FRC representative, this project cost estimate was calculated by administrators to amount to $3,128.

The cheapest project discussed, which proposed installing scanners in Elliott, Plimpton, and 616, came out to $500.

Representative for Information and Technology Joanne Kim, BC ’18, proposed a tech resource library system that would lend laptop and phone chargers to students who lost or broke their own, similar to how IMATS rents out film and recording equipment. Depending on the quantity and type of chargers purchased, the project would cost $9,000 at most.

A proposed fan rental program outlined a potential collaboration with Barnard’s Residential Life & Housing to purchase and provide fans to students living in housing without air conditioning. Because the applicants had not yet reached out to ResLife, the cost estimates were not made available. The program would be similar to ResLife’s current refrigerator rental system, in which students rent refrigerators at the beginning of the academic year and return them in May.

Another applicant proposed a pregraduate test preparation scholarship fund for Barnard students who wish to pursue a graduate degree. Due to the expensive nature of applying and testing for grad school, the proposal would provide financial resources for students, though the cost estimates were not made available.

The final project proposed to diversify Barnard’s gym equipment by providing heavier weight options in a gym currently equipped with light-weight, low-intensity, and cardio-based equipment. The proposal had an estimated cost of $1,720.

Barnard guests swiping into dining halls

Representative for Food and Dining Services Miriam Lichtenberg, BC ’19, said she was working on a new initiative to allow Barnard students to swipe guests into Barnard dining halls instead of only being allowed to use points.

The Food Advisory Board will be sending out a survey to the student body next Monday to gauge how many guest swipes students would realistically use. Lichtenberg said the survey, which will remain open for one week, will help the board have a more comprehensive understanding of how to move forward with the initiative.

Statement regarding Spar’s resignation

Earlier at the meeting, SGA President Sara Heiny, BC ’17, reiterated the council’s statement of support for Barnard President Debora Spar, who announced her resignation last Wednesday. SGA sent an email to the student body last Thursday recognizing how unexpected her announcement was while wishing her luck on her future leading Lincoln Center.

“I hope that everyone will join us in congratulating her,” Heiny said during the meeting on Monday evening. “The position that she has as president and CEO of Lincoln Center is a truly historic one, and we’re all very proud of her.”

rebecca.ausseil@columbiaspectator.com | @rcausseil

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