During this week’s meeting, the University of Rhode Island Student Senate voted on a bill certifying the results of the spring 2021 Student Senate elections, which passed with 23 votes.

The Student Senate also voted on a bill for a contingency grant requesting funds to help build an outdoor wellness center at the University. The grant requested $25,000, and according to Senator Randy Urena, will cover half the cost of construction.

The Outdoor Wellness Center project, overseen by Campus Recreation, lost its funding due to COVID-19. Ramsay explained how the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, wanted to give back to Campus Recreation and the URI community.

“The Outdoor Wellness Center would be for students, faculty and anyone on campus to go and hang out,” Ramsay said.

According to Ramsay, the Center would include pavilions as well as areas to study and work. The bill passed with 23 votes.

The Student Senate also spent this week’s meeting approving the budget for recognized student organizations for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The budget was reviewed by the Senate, and the bill passed with 23 votes.

Student Organizations Committee Chairwoman Katie Siegle informed the Senate that the University’s spirit week has been successful so far. Today, the SOC will be hosting trivia and tomorrow will feature yard games on the Quad.

Instruments Committee Chairman Chris Bove thanked the senate for allowing him to oversee the Instruments Committee, which will be dissolved once the election certification bill takes effect on Friday.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the Instruments Committee,” Bove said. 

He thanked his Vice-Chairman Chris Hoover as well as Senators Anabelle Gibson and Emma North for their dedication to the committee.

“I am very proud of where [the Senate] has gotten with [its] bylaws and constitution as well as the Senate’s transition to a three-branch government,” he said. “Thank you all for doing the work that needs to be done.”

The Senate also passed a resolution thanking President Austyn Ramsay for her exemplary leadership over the past year. Ramsay was elected as president of the Student Senate last April and became the first Afro-Latina woman to hold this position.

“It’s important that the Senate recognizes what President Ramsay has accomplished,” Bove said.

According to him, Ramsay led the student body through unprecedented times. When students were left without housing by the University due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramsay urged the University to use the Transition Assistance Grant to provide students cash payments as compensation.

She also worked alongside Greek Life at the University to raise funds supporting Black Lives Matter. Over the past year, Ramsay has also worked with the Faculty Senate to ease the academic stress felt by students.

“Most importantly, she has kept the Senate together,” Bove said. “Ramsay has exhibited so many admirable leadership qualities. If it were not for her, I would not be the senator I am today.” 

Siegle and Senator Kyra Shindler also thanked Ramsay for her hard work over the past year. The resolution passed with 23 votes.

The next Student Senate meeting will take place on April 7 at 6:30 p.m.