Previously, on SGA: Staff chats and student proposal

The following covers the meeting on Oct. 26.


All Student Government Association (SGA) meetings are open to the public. One student was in attendance.

Climate Check:

President Danny Nguyen placed a 10-minute limit on climate check in order to accommodate all the items on the meeting docket.

First-year Senator Molly Van Ackeren opened climate check by raising complaints on behalf of student-athletes about issues with athletic trainers. Advisor Demi Brown recommended reaching out to Marc Powell, head athletic trainer.

First-year Senator Sameed Aijaz expressed concern about the red lights at water bottle filling stations indicating that the filters need to be replaced. Junior Senator Nadesh Vaithianathan recommended that Senator Aijaz file a work order to get the filters replaced. President Nguyen echoed Senator Vaithianathan’s advice and stated that if the issue is recurring, they could reach out to Ernesto Gonzalez, associate director of facilities services.

Sophomore Senator Ella Charbonnet stated that she had heard reports that the greenhouse on top of CSI is not in use, and wanted to know who she should contact about utilizing that space. President Nguyen advised reaching out to Leslie F. Bleamaster III, science facilities manager. Senior student Grace Magavern stated that the greenhouse space is used regularly by students and faculty.

Magavern raised a concern about the green roof on the top of CSI, explaining that the water pump broke in 2020 and has not been repaired. Magavern asked why the irrigation system has not been fixed and whether SGA would be able to advocate for this issue. President Nguyen advised reaching out to Gonzalez and Bleamaster. Sophomore Senator Andrew Phillips and Senator Charbonnet will reach out.

Senator Van Ackeren stated that constituents had requested Christmas lights in Mabee Dining Hall. President Nguyen directed the question to Charles Robles, food service director. Robles explained that Mabee was currently decked out for Halloween but they will decorate for Christmas closer to the holidays.

President Nguyen stated he was beginning to expect snow after today’s brief climate check.

Forrest Keller:

The first guest speaker that SGA hosted was Forrest Keller, junior computer science major, who presented a tentative proposal for an initiative that would partner multiple student organizations on campus to help Westwood Terrace Elementary School improve their green space. Keller explained that he had met with the vice principal of the school and a representative of the school district.

Keller outlined the specifics of his plan in an email sent to senators. Keller asked about the possibility of using the student activity fund (SAF) or funding from the SGA operating budget; he recognized that the SAF is specifically set aside for activities that directly impact and benefit Trinity students, but pointed out that this project would provide volunteer opportunities and experience for students. Keller stated he would like to partner with multiple student organizations like Trinity University Volunteer Action Community (TUVAC), Gardening Club, the Biology Club and engineering students to carry out his goals. The rough estimate for the cost of the project is currently $10,800. Keller stated he plans to tap into multiple funding sources, including applying for grants, and that he brought his proposal to SGA before creating an itemized budget to gauge the senate’s interest.

President Nguyen advised that using the SAF budget may not be feasible since Trinity students would not be the direct beneficiaries of the funds. President Nguyen proposed three potential venues for funding: the SGA Operational Budget, the Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council and Gardopia Gardens, a local nonprofit that builds community gardens and has education initiatives. President Nguyen advised Keller to find out which venues would be willing to pitch in and contribute and reach out to Juan Sepúlveda, the president’s special advisor for inclusive excellence, to develop an accurate itemized budget.

Laura Ramsey, director for student accessibility services:

Laura Márquez Ramsey, newly appointed director for student accessibility services, joined the senate for a staff chat. Ramsey began with an update on the current state of affairs in student accessibility services (SAS), namely the recent move to extend the hours of the accommodated testing center (ATC) three days a week and the addition of 11 new SAS ambassadors — students who use SAS services and work with new students. Ramsey stated that they will adjust and tailor these changes according to the needs of students. Also, based on positive student and professor feedback, she anticipated the possibility of extending ATC hours into the evening all five days of the week.

Ramsey then fielded questions from the senators. The topics discussed include: services available for students with physical disabilities, barriers to entry into campus buildings, plans to make a new campus accessibility guide available for students, upcoming construction projects to improve campus accessibility, personalized approaches to providing accommodations, removing barriers to technology available to students and the option of remote learning as an accommodation piece. Any student wanting to know more about these topics should reach out to their senator or Ramsey for more information.

Charles Robles, director of dining services, and Bruce Bravo, senior director of conferences and auxiliary services:

Bruce Bravo, senior director of conferences and auxiliary services, and Charles Robles, director of dining services, sat down with SGA to answer the senators’ questions in regards to the areas they oversee. Bravo opened the staff chat by explaining his role on campus and what areas fall under his purview.

Robles stated that he felt nervous that the senators took it easy during climate check, because it meant they were holding onto their questions for him. Robles gave a brief overview on his job description and current projects items he is working on, specifically Treasurer Conrad Jarvis’ request for paper cups for condiments and Senator Charbonnet’s ice cream machine. Bravo asked if Senator Charbonnet was the ice cream person, stated that he had heard a lot about her, and that he had an update on the ice cream machine for his meeting with Advisor Brown the next day.

Robles and Bravo fielded questions from the senators on the following topics: the service speed at Freshii, the possibility of adding more washing machines as a part of the free laundry initiative, phone apps that allow students to track how much time is left on the laundry machine, beef jerky prices, inflation, the availability of fresh Halal meat and vegetarian options in Mabee, weekend dining options and hours, a worker at Mabee who does not make burgers to order (using the wrong cheese option or giving buns when “no buns” was requested), the possibility of adjusting the purchasing power of a swipe to reflect inflation, how the meal plan is calculated (Robles, Bravo and Advisor Brown all stated it has nothing to do with profit), portion control and editing the dining service feedback survey so that it allows for more constructive criticism. Any student who is interested in hearing more about these topics in depth should reach out to their senator, Robles or Bravo for more information.

Officer Reports:

President Nguyen gave an update on the Trinity Tailgate, stating that SGA is working with Aramark and catering Smoke Shack.

President Nguyen stated that an SGA Christmas dinner at Advisor Brown’s house was also currently in the works. For the last SGA meeting of the semester on Dec. 7, President Nguyen would like the senators to wear holiday sweaters.

Treasurer Jarvis and Treasurer Caterina Mora Adrover reminded finance committee members to put the notes from their meetings with student organizations in the Google Form, and that if they sent an email and received no response to record that too.

President Nguyen dismissed the senate and told everyone to have a fa-boo-lous night.