Bold slate reflects on fall, shares spring semester plans

<p>Student Government Association (SGA) President Connor Sanburn and Vice President Jordyn Blythe express their opinions during the SGA debate Feb. 10, 2020. Sanburn said Bold slate members will work on some platform points over winter break. <strong>John Lynch, DN</strong></p>

Student Government Association (SGA) President Connor Sanburn and Vice President Jordyn Blythe express their opinions during the SGA debate Feb. 10, 2020. Sanburn said Bold slate members will work on some platform points over winter break. John Lynch, DN

How much of the SGA budget has been allocated to each platform point

Intercultural dialogues course for students: Bold is not expecting any expenses for this initiative.

Bold slate members said they completed this point through SGA vice president Jordyn Blythe’s involvement in the Student Anti-Racism and Intersectionality Advisory Council, which offered feedback on the “Understanding Race and Becoming an Anti-Racist” course, developed by Emily Rutter, assistant director of African American Studies and associate professor of English. Rutter said no other slate members besides Blythe have offered feedback.

Diversity training for all faculty: Bold is not expecting any expenses for this initiative.

Blythe said she and secretary of diversity Temple Day are discussing plans for diversity training with individual department chairs and college deans. Blythe has discussed training with Amy Livingstone, associate dean of the Honors College, Cathy Bickel, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, and Beth Goetz, athletic director, and is working on scheduling more discussions.

Build Counseling Center partnership and host event: $1,000

SGA president Connor Sanburn said the slate may allocate an additional $2,000 to this event as part of a spring break initiative to relieve student stress during the spring semester. Sanburn said he wants to work with the Counseling Center and other organizations to host this event.

Increase accessibility to SafeZone training: $350

Sanburn said Bold is working on paying for T-shirts and buttons for students and faculty who complete SafeZone training. He hopes to raise awareness for training through these initiatives and sponsor some Zoom trainings in the spring 2021 semester.

Expand metered parking app and grow awareness: Bold is not expecting any expenses for this initiative.

Sanburn said Bold wants to discuss expanding the metered parking app with the Office of Parking Services to allow students to pay for parking meters via their phone instead of with change. He said Bold is not actively working to complete this point.

Explore heated bus stations: $4,000

Sanburn said Bold is focusing on heated bus stations through a proposal for where heated bus stations could be implemented. Bold members are continuing to discuss heated bus stations with Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management. Sanburn said he doesn’t expect heated bus stations to be completed before Bold leaves office but hopes to develop written proposals.

Continue Map App updates for individuals with disabilities: Bold is not expecting any expenses for this initiative.

Sanburn said Bold has reached out to members of Digital Corps to continue Map App updates that were introduced as part of the previous Elevate slate’s platform points. Director of Digital Corps Brandon Smith said he is still in contact with SGA on implementing its proposed updates. Sanburn said he is focused on whether the updates SGA has proposed make financial sense, as they would require rewriting the app code.

Encourage reduced plastic bag use in dining facilities: Bold is not expecting any expenses for this initiative.

Sanburn said Bold has delivered a proposal to Dining Services to reduce plastic bag use in the dining halls by placing plastic bags behind cash registers so students have to ask for bags. He said the point will be complete by the end of the spring 2021 semester if Dining Services accepts the proposal.

Explore motion-sensored lighting: $300

Sanburn said Bold is not as concerned about this point as other platform points. He said he wants to investigate what areas of campus would benefit from motion-sensored lighting during the spring 2021 semester and move forward with plans to implement the point if slate members agree on some locations that could benefit from motion-sensored lighting.

Pilot free menstrual hygiene products in select buildings: $4,500

SGA chief administrator Gina Esposito said Bold plans to supply free menstrual products in Student Center bathrooms beginning in the spring 2021 semester. After Bold covers initial costs of implementing this point, Esposito hopes the university will supply refills once Bold leaves office. She said SGA is also working to subsidize some menstrual products that Cardinal Kitchen supplies to students.

Improve organization connections with SGA: $800 

Blythe said she has searched BennyLink for student organizations and contacted different members to ask how SGA can help them achieve their goals and if any of them want an organizational representative in the senate.

Source: SGA 2020-21 budget, as passed at the Oct. 14, 2020, senate meeting

During his time as Student Government Association (SGA) president so far, Connor Sanburn said, he has realized how long the university process of approving proposals takes.

“I know we said this during elections about how we know the university is a slow-moving wheel, but we didn’t realize how slow it really was,” he said.

Sanburn said the Bold slate has made progress on its platform points in spite of the slow process, and he is proud of what slate members have accomplished this semester.

“No other slate has really had to govern through a pandemic like this before, and I’m so proud of the team and how they’ve persevered through it,” he said.

While Sanburn said he is pleased with the slate’s progress, he was hesitant to say any of Bold’s platform points were already complete.

“A lot of these [points] are ongoing and continuing, and a lot of them will take shape and take form during the beginning of next semester,” he said.

Chief administrator Gina Esposito said SGA will launch a pilot program for its free menstrual products in the Student Center during the beginning of the spring 2021 semester.

Esposito said she thinks Bold can use the menstrual hygiene dispensaries already in bathrooms and allow people to turn knobs on the machines without needing to pay a quarter for pads and tampons.

Though not in the original point, she said the slate is also working to partner with Cardinal Kitchen to supply students with boxes of menstrual products when they need them.

“At Cardinal Kitchen, there’s a lack of products to give,” Esposito said. “We know students need them, it’s just a matter of getting data to prove that students need these products to the point where they are supplied by the university.”

For spring 2021, Bold is prioritizing free menstrual products and diversity training for faculty.

When slate members established their platform points in February, they wanted to push diversity training for all faculty, but vice president Jordyn Blythe said they’ve adapted this point after realizing the university already has many training modules in place.

“We kind of switched gears on that because, in my conversations with Dr. Marsha McGriff, she expressed why mandatory bias training probably won’t happen this year,” Blythe said. “They’ve done mandatory trainings before and found that they weren’t as productive.”

Blythe said she and SGA secretary of diversity Temple Day have reached out to individual department chairs and college deans to ask how SGA can help further inclusive excellence plans and develop training modules if any departments don’t have them already.

“We don’t want professors to train for the sake of training — that’s not what this point was about,” Blythe said. “Training is in the near future for all of the departments, and our function in this role is just to help them be as effective about it as possible.”

Sanburn said he is most excited about the diversity training and menstrual products platform points, but Bold is still working on other initiatives.

Points Sanburn said he expects to be completed by the end of the spring 2021 semester are hosting an event with the Counseling Center, increasing accessibility of SafeZone training, reducing plastic bag use in dining halls and improving organizational connections with SGA. He added that Bold is working to advance Map App updates and heated bus stations, but those points might not be fully completed before Bold leaves office.

“A lot of them could look like a proposal — a lot of them could look like the finished product,” he said.

Sanburn said slate members will set individual goals for the platform points they are responsible for over winter break and discuss their progress before classes begin for the spring 2021 semester.

“We worked like dogs this semester,” he said. “I think having a brain break and coming back in the spring — we’re just going to be moving.”

Contact Grace McCormick with comments at grmccormick@bsu.edu or on Twitter @graceMc564. Contact Maya Wilkins with comments at mrwilkins@bsu.edu or on Twitter @mayawilkinss.

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