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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Student body president addresses organizations’ budget cuts, announces upcoming projects

Leaders in the Student Government Association (SGA) discussed their goals and priorities for this academic year at the State of the Student Body on Wednesday evening.

Student Body President Iris Okere touched on how the funding committee allocated funding to recognized student organizations. Out of the requested total of $722,000, SGA could originally only allocate $165,000; $15,000 was later added from SGA’s reserves, for a total of $180,000.

The funding committee underwent three rounds of assigning appropriations. Several organizations spoke at the SGA meeting on Aug. 23 to share how their severe funding cuts would impact them, with some stating their organizations were at risk.

The organizations in the College of Engineering said that the college provides them space but no funding.

“This is a call for help from the college deans to contribute to the success of these imperative organizations under their stature,” Okere said.

During the third round on Aug. 30, the Indian Student Association had the largest budget cut, which was originally allocated $10,000 but was reduced to $6,900. Four other organizations lost over $2,000. According to Okere, 13 underserved groups were defunded between the second and third rounds “to support larger initiatives.”

Okere announced the Appropriations Relief Act, her newly authored funding bill, which would request $33,000 from SGA’s contingency fund to help alleviate the affected organizations’ budget cuts and raise the funding back to “the initial allocation from round one of the process.”

“I was and continue to be very disappointed with the appropriations allocations. It doesn’t sit right with me,” Okere said. “Several of these organizations tend to always get looked past.”

Okere called on the Senate to swiftly pass the bill and issued an order for the Student Senate to meet on Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. to discuss the bill.

Upcoming projects and goals

Okere also announced several other projects and initiatives. In the spring, Wichita State submitted a plan to renovate the Rhatigan Student Center to the Kansas Board of Regents, which was approved and will start in February 2024.

“I look forward to working with SGA to consider the next phase on a renovation and bring to a vote a continuation to address concerns in the building,” Okere said.

Okere said the executive cabinet also plans to assist in bringing a fast food restaurant on campus and has created a group to brainstorm how to involve students in this decision.

“If we can all come together to provide a recommendation to the university, we can not only enhance the student experience, but create tradition throughout the campus community,” Okere said.

Okere also discussed creating more jobs for international students, stating Director of International Affairs Tavonja Mwenje spoke with the Shocker Career Accelerator to address this issue.

“I propose we find a way to annex Braeburn Square and create these jobs,” Okere said.

Okere also mentioned planned projects for the Shocker Support Locker, which provides food and toiletries to students, including a monthly giveaway and newsletter, expanding the food recovery network and publishing a second volume to the Shocker Support Locker cookbook.

Okere touched on how Vice President Sophie Martins worked with Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies over the summer to create a map of all the gender-neutral restrooms on campus, responding to the anti-transgender legislation passed on July 1. She said the finalized map will be placed on SGA’s website for easy access.

SGA has installed several menstrual products dispensers throughout campus in August. According to Okere, the Menstrual Products Advisory Board will restock the machines, based on student feedback.

Student Senate and Supreme Court goals

Speaker of the Student Senate Kylee Hower and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen Wetta also shared their goals for their respective branches.

Hower said her goals include maintaining transparency and communicating with the other branches and being accessible to students. She said she plans to partner with the Community Service Board to increase the Senate’s outreach.

“We are here to make this campus safe, accessible and enjoyable for all students who choose to call Wichita State home,” Hower said.

Hower also seeks to improve productivity within the Senate and wants all committees to submit at least three pieces of legislation each semester.

Wetta said the Supreme Court’s decisions will be based on ensuring each student’s voice matters and maintaining fair, transparent and ethical behavior.

Wetta said she plans to make the court more accessible and raise awareness of its role among the student body.

“Through these initiatives, we hope to bridge any gaps, ensuring that every student feels confident in utilizing the court services,” Wetta said.

To watch the State of the Student Body, visit SGA’s livestream.

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About the Contributors
Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown, News Editor
Courtney Brown is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. She previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor. Brown uses she/her pronouns.
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Reporter
Mia Hennen is a reporter for The Sunflower. Most recently, Hennen served as editor-in-chief for the 2023-2024 year. A senior English major, Hennen will graduate in May 2025 and hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

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    StudentSep 13, 2023 at 10:10 am

    While I’m glad that $30k is going to the RSO’s, it’s frustrating seeing that money go to the President’s interests: her and her cabinet’s sororities and fraternities. The allocation was chosen for an agenda.