The Slippery Rock Student Government Association held a formal meeting in the Smith Student Center Theater Monday night. Samantha Walker, a graduate student at SRU, spoke during the open forum on the new tax bill entering the Senate that would make tuition waivers and stipends counted as taxable income. The bill would likely lead to graduate students, in particular, to have to decrease their credit load in order to afford enrollment.
“Tuition waivers act as coupons for higher education for many students,” Walker said. “They help wipe away the costs for tuition and sometimes room and board. The higher education opportunities offered through these waivers helps lower income and minority students pursue advancement with a degree.”
Walker encouraged students in attendance to contact state senators to voice their concerns over the bill. This point was reiterated by SGA Advisors Wendy Leitera and Dr. David Kershaw.
“Whether or not you are planning to attend graduate school, this bill is a really big deal. It is pivotal that you stay informed and educated. Reach out to Senator Pat Toomey and voice your opinion. These are the types of phone calls he should be listening to,” Leitera said.
“The best thing you can do to address issues you care about is to visit your elected official in person,” Kershaw said. “Phone calls and emails are typically avoided by politicians. Learn who your state senators and representatives and visit them at their office. That is more likely to help you achieve your desired impact.”
The Leadership Development Society, LEADS, was officially recognized as a new campus organization. In addition to helping members network and build business relationships, the group will be dedicated to conducting civic service projects in the Slippery Rock community. Organization President Gregory Vurgch was quick to distinguish LEADS from other leadership groups on campus.
“This organization is one of a kind because it is not dedicated to those solely in the leadership curriculum,” Vurgch said. “It’s going to involve everyone who wants to get involved, regardless of major. We’re hoping to provide SRU students with the necessary professional and social skills necessary to succeed once they graduate.”
In addition, a $500 conference grant was awarded to the American Marketing Association to attend for a regional conference in April of next year. The Computer Technology Club’s new initiative request of $325 for speaking fees and food costs for an event held in October was denied after much discussion based on attendance. This was the second formal meeting where no member of the organization was in attendance and able to advocate for the new initiative request.
The SRU Men’s Ice Hockey Team requested $9,600 to help cover league dues and referee fees. Although initially brought forth with a recommendation of approval by Finance VP Riley Keffer, reservations were brought up about funding an organization that was financially insecure. VP Keffer friendly amended the motion to be tabled until specific concerns were rectified regarding the team’s self-support account.
SGA Senator Nikol Damato was the 2017 recipient of the SGA Scholarship Award. The $500 scholarship was awarded to Damato following a committee of SRU staff members evaluating her application and letter of recommendation.
The last formal SGA meeting of the 2017 Fall Semester will be on Monday, December 4 in the Smith Student Center Theater at 8:45 p.m.