The University of Rhode Islands Student Senate approved a grant for $3,700 to the Aerospace and Piloting Club to help fund aviation lessons for ten of their members.

Aerospace and Piloting was created to aid students in obtaining their private pilot license. “It is a very interesting group and they have put a lot of work into creating it,” said Student Senate College of Business representative Tiffany Jones.

Francesco Palumbo, the Aerospace and Piloting Club president, requested funding last month for a total of $8,000. Although the clubs original request was denied, Palumbo returned after reducing their request to the minimal amount of $3,700 which was approved. The club will use the grant to hire an instructor, pay for ground school instruction, plane rental and instruction materials.

Deciding whether or not to fund the $3,700 to the club was very controversial for Senate members who struggled to come to a conclusion. Senators were concerned about awarding such a large amount of money to a group with such few members. External Affairs Chair Matthew Kilduff said, “The number of people in a group matters when we are giving money. We should think about how many students it is affecting.” Current Student Organization Advisory and Review Committee Chair, Amanda Rode believes the club should raise their dues, “I think the problem is that their dues are too low,” she said, “we would be awarding each student over $300 to get their own piloting license.”

“When we give our money we need to think about what everyone is getting from it,” said Kilduff. “We have always as Senate been against giving handouts to individual people and honestly, the hours they are required for the certification are not enough to allow them to teach other students on campus. There is no benefit.”

While many members focused on the benefit the club will bring to the university of Rhode Island, others believed it to be unfair to deny the group funding after they minimized their budget from $8,000 to $3,700.

Senate members Senator Michelle Ferrara supported the Aerospace and Piloting Club responded to Kilduff’s comment, “We recognized this group knowing it would be an expensive one,” she said. “I think to not fund them for the minimum amount of money they need to function is wrong.”

After a lengthy debate and truly considering the benefits of the Aerospace and piloting club student senate approved the grant. “They bring something unique and different that URI can brag about. Think that to deny them of even the funds to even begin to operate, I don’t think it is fair,” said Student Senate member Matthew Glass.

In other news :

University of Rhode Island senior, Matthew Quaino was elected to be the speaker for this year’s senior commencement ceremony.

Student Senate President Joseph Maynard addressed the Student Senate for the last time as the President of the organization. Student Senate members also expressed warm goodbyes to the graduating seniors and Student Senate member who will not be serving in the upcoming turn.

New student Senate members were welcomed and sworn in to their positions.