SGC-MMC’s new speaker pro tempore elected, Senate talks funding and town hall meetings

By Adrian Suarez Avila/ Staff Writer

SGC-MMC’s final Senate meeting of the summer semester ushered in a new beginning for CARTA senator and finance chair, Tomas Alcala.

Following Caroline Lorenzo’s resignation, the position of speaker pro-tempore was up for grabs, and the senate met on July 21 to consider both Alcala and a second candidate, both who stepped up to fill the position.

Alcala’s opponent, Senator At-Large and Chair of the Internal Affairs/Review Committee Nicholas Recuset, cited a previous position in which he executed tasks that were similar to those left to the charge of the speaker pro tempore, failing, however, to provide specific examples of said tasks.

“[Senator Alcala] spoke a lot about his accomplishments in his past positions,” said Arts and Sciences Senator Hanna Habib, “Whereas [Senator Recuset] just spoke about his positions but not necessarily about what he did to fulfill them or what made him stand out from other senators.”

However, Alcala’s experience as member of the advocacy, finance and technology fee committees, having dealt with budget hearings, put him ahead.

“I’d just like to start off with Senator Alcala’s experience with budget and his latest on the budget hearings,” said Nico Pasquariello, honors college senator. “That’s just one thing that Senator Recuset lacks that Alcala has.”

After deliberating, the majority of the senators voted in favor of Alcala as the new speaker pro-tempore, with the exception of Speaker of the Senate Charles Perretti, who did not vote, and Nursing and Health Sciences Senator Samantha Joseph, who abstained from voting.

Although Alcala remains CARTA senator, he vacated his position as finance chair, which, according to Alcala, At-Large Senator and Vice Chair of the Finance Committee Kristie Reyes, is interested in.

Following the congratulatory remarks aimed at Alcala, the Graduate and Professional Student Committee’s Chair and Graduate Senator Rhett Williamson, updated the senate.

According to Williamson, his committee met on July 11 and, among other things, approved 10 out of 12 applications from graduate students interested in acquiring funds for travel and other expenses associated with attending research conferences.

Williamson also informed those in attendance that the GPSC’s web page has been updated with the new funding application, which removes the requirement of having to complete a Moodle workshop.

SGC-MMC President Alexis Calatayud announced to the senate that she would attend the Florida Student Association Planning Conference, hosted at Florida State University on July 25.

FSA is a board on which every Florida Public University’s student body president sits. Calatayud and her counterparts came together to mount a united front for issues and concerns of the 300,000 public university students at the state level.

Calatayud and the FSA’s other attending members discussed strategies for outreach, awareness and developing educational and engagement campaigns, placing emphasis on legislative priorities.

Calatayud also discussed her intention to potentially accompany SGC-MMC Vice President Tiffany Roman-Biffa in Washington D.C. next week to discuss the importance of Pell Grant awards to the community in meetings with South Florida congressmen and women.

“I’m looking to meet with some congressional staff to share student perspectives and students’ legislative needs to bookend the powerful work of our amazing federal governmental relations team, SGA vice-president, and lobbying coordinator this summer,” she said.

Calatayud isn’t the only one with plans.

Samantha Joseph, nursing and health sciences senator, discussed her intention to host town hall meetings where students and administrators from the college of nursing and health sciences, along with students from other departments, can come and voice their opinions.

She wants to discuss, among other things, the issue that the scholarships available through the College of Nursing are offered solely to nursing students, despite the presence and need of students in other majors housed in the department, such as occupational therapy and health service administration.

Joseph also plans to host career fairs for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences in order to give students in the college an opportunity to learn about the various professional opportunities available to them.

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