Forty minutes of debate and split votes marked the first Student Assembly senate meeting of the 2013-14 academic school year. The seven dissenting votes in Tuesday’s meeting revealed a notable difference from last semester, during which only 11 “no” votes were cast the entire semester.
The subject of the debate — the Washington, D.C. Fall Break Act — ultimately passed 13-2.
The act outlines a plan for students to receive bus transportation from the College of William and Mary campus to Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. for $15-$20 on the Friday that kicks off fall break, Oct. 11.
The College’s Washington Office, which is cosponsoring the plan, will also host an internship workshop and networking event at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Bus transportation taking students back to the College will leave from the Washington Office following the event at 2 p.m.
Senators first debated whether the bill should be moved to old business without going through the standard committee procedure, which would take an extra week.
“Sending it through the committee system … gives you points from different perspectives that I think get lost in meetings like this,” Sen. Colin Danly ’15 said.
Chief of Staff Drew Wilke ’15, the main point of contact with the Washington Office, and Sen. Daniel Ackerman ’16, who wrote the bill, argued that they needed to begin marketing the program immediately.
“I know it seems like fall break seems so far away … but I’m already thinking of how I’m going to get home,” Ackerman said. “I think every day we wait is a loss of people who could be interested in the program.”
Wilke noted that if the program proves extremely popular, an extra week would give the SA time to book another bus.
The bill takes $1,500 out of SA funds, which — matched by $1,500 from the College’s Washington Office — covers the cost of one 55-passenger bus and the Tuesday event.
“We throw around so many numbers sometimes we forget what that actually means,” Sen. Caleb Stone J.D. ’15 said. “$1,500 may be a drop in the bucket for us, but it’s still $1,500. I don’t think this is so important that it can’t wait another week.”
The senate voted 9-5 to move the bill to old business and debated its points before passing it.
“I don’t know if this is the best way to showcase the DC office,” Danly said.
Danly also suggested that people taking the bus would not come to the Washington Office workshop on Fall Break and instead just use it as a means to go home.
“Yes, we want people to go to the DC office, but it still is a service of transportation,” Wilke said. “We felt like it was a good opportunity to allow students who are from DC a cheaper way to get home and/or if you’re someone who lives out of state and wants to go to DC for the weekend, it’s a great opportunity.”
The DC office and SA will market the workshop to all students, even the ones who did not take the bus.
At the meeting, the Photo Booth Reimbursement Act passed unanimously, allocating $2,400 to repay Phantom Shadow Entertainment for their photo service at Convocation.
“A photographer took pictures of students,” Secretary of Student Life Alyssa Zhu ’14 said. “The photos were printed then and there and were put on [a] white photo cover that had the SA seal on the outside and ‘one tribe, one family’ on the inside slot. We just wanted to get [the students] excited to be at William and Mary.”
Arrion Dennis ’08 J.D. ’15 was also approved for appointment to the Review Board.
“I’m really interested in getting actively involved in all parts of campus,” Dennis said. “Being a law students, in terms of reviewing constitutionality in any action, gives me good skills for [the Review Board].”
Other students who are interested in getting involved in elected SA positions can attend an information session Sept. 8-11 at 7 p.m. about the up coming freshmen election and Class of 2014 vice president of social affairs and secretary elections.
Homecoming T-shirt designs are due Sept. 10. The Undergraduate Council wants to sell them at family weekend this year.
“If you’re into art, please submit a design,” Class Treasurer and Undergraduate Council Chair Brett Prestia ’14 said. “We’d really like to have a wide variety. … This is a big step up for us, especially reaching out to the campus like this. Please submit to myself or to any of your class officers.”