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ISSUE 118 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/15/2004

Surplus debated: Senate hears ideas for spending money

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer

Friday, October 15, 2004

Student Senate came one step closer to distributing its $100,000 surplus when it held an open forum for student and faculty ideas.

The Black Ballroom was full as students and faculty came to offer their suggestions for the Student Government Association (SGA) surplus.

Katie Rohach `05, Student Activities Committee Coordinator, suggested that Senate redistribute the surplus back into student organizations on campus. Rohach said that student organizations influence every student on campus and take student suggestions for how to use money.

"Wouldn't it be better to give the money back to groups who have already shown a commitment to the student body?" Rohach asked.

Joan Hepburn, assistant professor of English, and Jill Ewald, the director of the Flaten art Museum and assistant professor of Art, suggested that SGA help bring many artists, including Teresa L. Church, a poet, playwright, and quilter to campus for an exhibition. Church would exhibit her work and read her poetry which centers around her quiltmaking.

Other artists and musicians would be involved as well, including African drummers. "We want this to involve as much of the campus as we can," Hepburn said.

Hepburn hopes to make the exhibition a "fancy occasion, something to dress up for besides Christmas Fest."

Tim Mitchell '07 suggested that Senate put the money towards an outdoor ice rink with boards and lights for campus.

"Campus pretty much dies during the winter," Mitchell said. "An ice rink would bring some excitement to campus."

Mitchell said that students could play broomball and ice hockey, as well as ice-skate.

"The ice rink could be constructed every winter on one of the lawns or unused fields, and taken down in the spring," Mitchell suggested.

Another idea for the Senate money came from Alex Johnson '07 and KSTO radio. The station only receives $10,000 a year, not enough for technological improvements, he said. Johnson described the radio station's plight, calling it a "black hole" on campus.

Even though 50 students have shows on the station, the campus receives poor reception. With funds from the surplus, KSTO could get licensed and possibly move to Internet broadcasting, which would allow the station to reach a wider audience.

Dana Burtness '07 suggested that SGA give some money to help the St. Olaf farm project already in the works.

Plans for a summer farm are already underway at St. Olaf, and include growing vegetables for the cafeteria. Eventually, Burtness hopes that it would become self-sufficient and involve the Northfield community as well.

"Think about it. We could use compost from the cafeteria to grow more veggies for us to eat," Burtness said.

Grace Munyakazi-Umutoni '06 thought that SGA should use the money to stabilize the tuition rates, increase student work and help out student organizations.

Justin Smith '07 suggested that Senate develop a committee to decide on a non-profit organization to donate the money.

"Donating the surplus would harmonize with St. Olafs mission statement more than any other proposal," Smith said.

While some students reacted negatively to the thought of giving all the money away, Smith explained his reasoning.

"It's just $100,000," Smith said. "We dont really need it."

Elizabeth Henke '05 brought up the idea for a Peace Garden between Buntrock Commons and Boe Memorial Chapel. The Peace and Justice Resource Network would like to build a garden for everyone to enjoy, and to beautify that area of campus, she explained.

Senate discussed its plans for the money at the following meeting, which was held on Thursday.

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