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Student Senate votes down $11,000 grant for event

By Jake Marrocco
On October 11, 2012

A one-hour debate took the floor during last night's Student Senate meeting as President of the Surf Club Patrick Brown fought for an $11,000 grant to fund the Extreme Sports Caravan event, which would have been held on Oct. 29.  The majority of senators, however, voted "nay" on the bill. 

The purpose of the event was to unite all students at URI "like never before," Brown said. He intended to fill the quadrangle with as many teams, clubs and Greek organizations as possible, and having each group run a small event at each of their stands. The fair would last from 4-8 p.m., and would end with a concert from the Sublime cover band, Bad Fish.

"The swim team is going to do bobbing for apples and the track team is going to do face-painting," Brown said. "Different things that would unite the URI community; this way the Greek organizations are interacting, clubs are interacting, teams are interacting.  This is something that never happens."

While some senators agreed that the purpose of the event was excellent, the dominant issue throughout the debate was the substantial amount of money that Brown was requesting.  Had the grant been passed, it would have absorbed more than 94% of the Senate's contingency budget, which sat at just more than $11,700. 

If granted, $10,000 would be invested in paying for Bad Fish to perform, a factor with which finance chairwoman Kristen Stewart disagreed.

"I think this event would be just as successful with a DJ," Stewart said. "I hope that [the senators] will all not let this go through. This would make me look very bad as the finance chair, and it should make us as the Senate look very bad for spending this much money when it's not fiscally responsible in our budget to do so."

Shortly preceding Stewart's speech, president Stephanie Segal discussed her views on the bill and mentioned that the Senate would be in dire economic straits if the committee were to pass it.

 "I think the five senators that signed onto this bill, whether they still agree or they don't, were uneducated at the time" Segal said. "I don't know if I can let this [bill] go through.  I might have to veto it. If you really look into it, as much as I am for having events on this campus, this would be the last event we could afford to have."

Although Segal does not have a vote on the bill, she reminded the group why certain budgets are set.

"[The contingency budget] is the money we have to put on an event," Segal said. "The other money is for other things, it is not meant for this. It would be a dumb decision to put that through for $11,000.  I think this is a great event, but I think the fact that Bad Fish is $10,000 is too much money for the Senate to approve this...I think it's a great idea, but not at $11,000 and having it be the only event we can afford."


In other news:


-The Senate welcomed 24 new elected members to the table in the offices of Freshmen Representative, At-large Representative, On-Campus Representative, Off-Campus Representative, and Representative of the College or Arts and Sciences.  Among the new Freshmen Representatives are Karly Turgeon, Adam Schmuter, Joe Maynard, Raquel Mendez and Sarah Patterson.  The positions of At-large Representative were filled by Rachel McAteer, Arisides Kappatos, Tyler Boiteau, Kyle St. Jean, Gao Kue, Amanda Rode, Henry Benerato and Hannah Vitello.  Those elected to the position of On-Campus Representative were Rachel Conboy, Jenna Solomon, Rebecca Tenaglia, Tyler Plante, Robert Nielsen and Ansley Stuart.  Off-Campus Representatives are Jacobo Musali, Anthony Davidson, Peter Hathaway and Lucy Gildein.  The final position of Representative of the College of Arts and Sciences was filled by Amanda Studley.

-A contingency grant of $2,400 was given to the Inter-Fraternity Committee (IFC) to help fund their efforts to break a Guinness World Record of high-fives performed by a mascot in one hour.  IFC President Rob Toby discussed that the event will take place one hour before the Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Keaney Gymnasium.  Those coordinating the event will issue race numbers to the people who will high-five the mascot in order to keep track of how many have done so.  Cameras will also be implemented to keep with Guinness' strict and meticulous guidelines of proving a record has been broken. Toby said that the group hopes to net more than 2,400 people to shatter the current record that sits at just more than 1,800.

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