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Friday, Nov 26, 2021

SGA passes amendment regarding student organization funding, approves two new clubs

Mercer University’s Student Government Association (SGA) voted Feb. 25 to adopt an amendment to their Constitution that would set up a seed money fund for new campus organizations recognized during the spring semesters, once the regular SGA funding they could normally access has run out.

Harrison Ivins, freshman senator and fiscal affairs committee chair, proposed the update to Title 3, Article 3 of the Constitution.  

“Ultimately, this is mainly just to introduce the leaders of new organizations to the funding process so they understand it straight up out of the gate,” Ivins said.

He said that since new organizations are not eligible to request other types of funding from SGA -- special funds or conference and lodging funds -- they sometimes must postpone club operations until the Bear Grant budget is replenished, which often means waiting until the next semester.

Seed money will enable new organizations to establish themselves on campus as soon as they are recognized, he said.

SGA President Adam Penland, former fiscal affairs committee chair, said the original bylaws made it difficult for emerging clubs to get off the ground. He said Ivins’ amendment would streamline the process.

“For the two new organizations we just approved today, they would have to wait to receive any kind of funding until the fall because we cut off Bear Grants … and they couldn’t do special funding or conference and lodging,” he said. “It’s just so new organizations could basically get a little bit of Bear Grant funding any time of the year.”

The amendment limits seed funding per club to $250, an amount Ivins said would not be a devastating loss to the club or the fiscal affairs committee should the club mismanage it, but is sufficient to help them become active and learn to work with SGA.

Senators approved the amendment unanimously.

Prior to reviewing the bylaws, SGA formally recognized two new student organizations -- Hack MU and Off the Hook -- which Ivins said demonstrated the need for new funding legislation.

“One of the two organizations we have tonight is Hack MU, which is a very unique and I think exciting organization to bring to our campus,” said Junior Senator Emily Harvey, chair of the Student Life and Organizational Affairs Committee.

Hack MU representative Nolan Donley said the club will bring students interested in programming, design and computer science together to compete in Hack-a-Thons, weekend-long “hacking marathons” that task collegiate teams with solving real-world problems through technology.

He said Hack MU would fit a need that Mercer’s existing computer engineering club, the Cyber Defense Team, doesn’t cover.

“That is more of a learning, cyber defense-only team, where we are more specific to Hack-a-Thons and growing the computer science community here at Mercer,” Donley said.

Donley, a computer science and computer engineering double-major, said Hack MU will teach basic skills to members with less experience to prepare them for Hack-a-Thon competitions. He said all Mercer students will be eligible for membership in the organization, regardless of major or level of familiarity with programming.

The other new organization, Off the Hook, is a more conventional service club on Mercer’s campus. It’s a “fiber arts enthusiast club” led by President Sarah Tuttle, a double major in biology and women’s and gender studies.

Tuttle said the organization will bring students together over interest in knitting, crocheting and weaving for the good of the Macon community.

“It’s primarily a service and education-based group, so we make items for donation places,” she said. “We would go into hospitals, nursing homes maybe, and try to teach some people how to knit and crochet because that can be very, very therapeutic for people.”

The club will meet weekly to learn fiber art techniques and hold service projects monthly, Tuttle said.

Two other student groups received funding from SGA to provide networking opportunities for their members. The National Society of Black Engineers was awarded money for participation in a national convention in Michigan, while the Sociology and Criminal Justice Club received money to travel to an annual meeting of regional college chapters.

SGA will hold their next open meeting March 11 at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Connell Student Center.

Looking ahead: The SGA 2019-2020 elections process

President & Vice President

Qualifications Meeting: March 13

Elections: March 26-27

Results announced March 27

Class Senators & Senators-at-Large

Qualifications Meeting: April 3

Elections: April 9-10

Results announced April 10


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