SGA approves funding request by Comic Book Club

Leighah Beausoleil / THE GATEPOST

By Branden LaCroix

Staff Writer

SGA approved the Comic Book Club’s request for funding a trip to Rhode Island Comic Con during the Oct. 12 meeting. 

Ryan Feinblatt, president of the Comic Book Club, and Jacob Sergeant, the group’s vice president, attended the meeting to ask for approval of the funding. 

Sergeant explained the funding will be used to purchase 40 tickets and fund a bus to bring students to the convention. He said each ticket is $64 and each student who wants to attend will pay $12.80 – 20% of the ticket price – which will then be added back into the SGA budget. 

Dara Barros, diversity and inclusion officer, objected to the funding. 

Barros said, “I understand having it open to the whole community. I just feel that 40 is a lot.” 

Barros said the event may not draw enough interest from students. “I think maybe we should [have fewer] tickets … so instead of 40, maybe 30 or 25 tickets,” she said. 

Secretary Samuel Houle said, “I don’t think we should reduce it this year – the year after COVID. I think if anything, interest will be higher because we didn’t get to go last year.” 

Senator Raffi Elkhoury said SGA should adjust the funding based on student interest. 

President McKenzie Ward said other student organizations, including the English Club and the Gaming Club, have expressed interest in attending the event. 

Ward added, “They usually never have any issues with filling the spots, and Comic Con is such a huge thing for the gaming community. … We’re finally getting back to in-person events and supporting student organizations that are holding these events.” 

SGA Advisor Sara Gallegos said, “All of the events we’ve had thus far have had higher attendance for everything this semester than we’ve had in the past. 

“The students want it. The students need it. You have the funding – put it towards where they need it,” she said. 

Feinblatt responded to the discussion by emphasizing how “valuable” the Comic Book Club is to students and how important the trip to Comic Con is, especially to freshmen and “students who have never been on campus. 

“This is a great opportunity for them to go to a fun event off campus and be part of an organization on campus that allows them to express their own personal interests,” he said. 

The request for $3,560 was approved by all but one member of SGA. 

Yumi Park Huntington, professor of art history and chair of Arts & Ideas, attended the meeting to speak about the screening of the film “The Hate U Give” in the McCarthy Center Forum Nov. 8. 

Park Huntington said she hopes “we have a lot of student participation to watch this movie and have a discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement” and also about police brutality and systemic racism. 

Park Huntington added prizes will be given out to students after the event. 

She encouraged SGA to help spread awareness of the event, as well as collaborate with Arts & Ideas for future events. 

Emily Rosenberg, outreach and events coordinator, discussed the annual retreat on Oct. 23, at which the members will look over the SGA constitution and by-laws, funding, as well as questions for the administrators’ forum. 

During her president’s report, Ward said Jennifer DeFronzo, director of alumni relations, reached out to her to discuss student emergency funding and “why students are not applying as much as they thought they would be.” 

Ward also said she is speaking with Patricia Whitney, director of facilities, and Meg Nowak Borrego, dean of students, about unisex bathrooms on campus and “finding better ways to promote them so students are aware of them, as well as faculty and staff.” 

Vice President Emma Sullivan said she attended the Committee for Student Affairs and discussed bringing back the “Got a Concern? Tell SGA” tables. 

Sullivan said the tables are set up “so anyone can come up to us and tell us any concerns they have or just to find out what SGA does. 

“It’s like an open forum-type thing, but we’re going to them instead of them coming to us,” she added. 

The first table will be in the Maynard Lot Nov. 9 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

The second will be located outside the McCarthy Center Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Sullivan said the committee also discussed putting together bags for community members with housing insecurities which will be donated to the Rams Resource Center (RRC). 

Sullivan added they are also going to see if the RRC needs volunteers.  

Rosenberg said the Week of Kindness is Nov. 22 and 23 and SGA members will need to help set up and staff the tables at the event. 

During the Diversity and Inclusion Officer’s Report, Barros said she is working with Eric Nguyen, director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE), to find a way “to have the community groups come together” and work collaboratively. 

“We’re building the first connection by telling them how to use the CIE as student organizations, as well as utilizing each other,” she said. 

During the Advisor’s Report, Sara Gallegos said any trips that student organizations are planning need to be communicated to SGA by Oct. 29. 

Ward also reminded the members about the campus safety walk Nov. 8 from 5 to 6 p.m. 

Emma Sullivan was awarded the “U-Rock” by senator Emma Laurie.

[Editor’s note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor of The Gatepost. Emily Rosenberg is an Arts & Features Editor of The Gatepost.]