The University of Rhode Island’s Student Senate began their meeting with the president of the Interfraternity Council, JT Oldham, who spoke about a new project Greek Life is trying to implement on campus called the Rhody Zone. The Rhody Zone is a $55,000 proposal to create a media space in the Ram’s Den for all students and organizations to use. The proposal would include 17 feet by 10 feet mounted HD projector, multiple plasma screen TVs and a 7.1 surround sound system. The costs would be divided by a numerous amount of contributions, including $5,000 from IFC and another $5,000 by the Panhellenic Association. Oldham was speaking to senate to ask for support and a contribution of $10,000 for the project.
Some of the concerns centering around the project are additional costs, like an additional of $12,000 for employment cost that would go up by having to increase the hours of some employees to adequately utilize and maintain the space. Oldham argued that the space would not only provide more immersion and expansion for current programs, like Greek Life philanthropy bingo night and sports events, but also open the doors for new programs, like Student Entertainment Committee events, group retreats and super bowl parties.
Some senators were concerned about the need for the expansion considering the Ram’s Den already offers a projector. Other senators, however, voiced their support for the project.
“[Ram’s Den is] a space a lot of students can really use,” Senator Aiden Keene, also Director for Public Relations of the Interfraternity Council, said. “A lot of commuters go to the Ram’s Den to hangout or relax and honestly, our [Memorial] Union is lacking in technology.”
Senate also held elections for their treasurer and elections committee positions. For the treasurer position, the two nominees were Jared Mattern and My Vu. Some of the concerns centered around Mattern were his lack of experience treasurer related positions.
“From what I’ve seen, the paperwork is pretty basic and it’s just the same thing over and over again,” Senator Tristam Howard said. “It could probably be done by a 6 year old, but the question is whether or not a 6 year old can make the judgements required by the position.”
Other senators voiced their support for Vu, given her experience as Business Manager for the Student Entertainment Committee.
“What must be clear is this is not a matter of simple paperwork,” Chief Information Officer Zachary Taylor said. “It’s a matter of bringing to the table a considerable amount of critical thinking to make decisions within an accounting system. So last time I checked, a 6 year old cannot help manage accounting systems for a 501-(c)-(3) organization.”
Ultimately it was Jared Mattern who won the election and was sworn in as the next Treasurer of the Senate.
Next, senators heard speeches for the elections committee.
“If you allow me to do the thing, I will do the thing,” Senator Kennedy Tate said. Five senators were elected to the position: Tate, Alfred Bailey, Mikaela Strobel, Ryan Buck and Allison Flath.
In other news, the Senate External Affairs committee addressed some problems with senator’s support for an event called Commuter Appreciation Day. For safety reasons, the committee needs at least two senators present at a table they are going to set up and were looking for more senators to be present in order to hold the event.
“I know exams are coming up…I don’t care if you sit there and play on your phone, I need two people at each table for security reasons and regulation,” Senator David Christie said.