SA discusses funding for NEDA Week, MLK Commemoration

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The Student Assembly senate voted against allocating additional funding to an event commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. KIMBERLY LORES / THE FLAT HAT

Jan. 22, the College of William and Mary Student Assembly held their first meeting of the spring semester. The meeting focused on the new initiatives SA is hoping to provide, as well as bills that were put on hold when SA adjourned for winter break.

Students Laila Drury ’19 and Samantha Phillips ’21 gave a presentation about the on-campus events which will take place during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, held from February 25-28.

Phillips and Drury both met in a recovery program for those with eating disorders. They decided to take on NEDA after the Colleen Reichmann, a staff psychologist at the Counseling Center who specialized in the treatment of adults with eating disorders, had to unexpectedly resign.

“We really didn’t want the week to die, and we know it’s really important to a lot of people,” Phillips said.

The events which will take place include a profit share with Aromas, a discussion with keynote speaker and activist for the LGBTQ+ community Ryan Sallans, and a wellness night in Lodge 1 in the Sadler Center.

Phillips and Drury hope to bring diversity to NEDA week by hosting a panel of speakers who come from a variety of different communities who will speak about their journeys of overcoming their eating disorders. According to Phillips and Drury, they hope that students of all races, sexual orientations and gender identities will feel represented throughout the week

“Whether you struggle personally or not, you probably know someone who does,” Drury said. “… Our goal is to bash a lot of the stigma around eating disorders.”

Sen. Anthony Joseph ’21 introduced the Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems for Dr. King Bill, which asked the senate for an additional $2,500 for the William and Mary Martin Luther King Commemoration event Jan. 31. SA originally passed a bill that allocated $5,000 for the event. Journalist and civil rights activist Roland Martin is expected to speak at the event.

According to Joseph, the Center for Student Diversity asked if SA could allocate the additional funds due to an unforeseen rise in production costs. Joseph said that he was unsure what caused the increase in costs. The bill failed by one vote after many senators expressed concerns about publicizing events before exact costs are known.

Joseph said that he hopes to learn more information about the reasons behind the increased cost of the event in the coming week and that he plans to reintroduce a bill of a similar nature at next week’s meeting. Joseph was unsure if Martin will still speak at the event due to SA choosing not to allocate the additional funds for the event.

Also at this week’s meeting:
• Samyuktha Mahadevan ’19 was sworn in as the Student Assembly Secretary of Student Life after previous Secretary JonDavid Nichols ’20 became a senator. Mahadevan was promoted from another position in within the SA Department of Student Life, and hopes to work on improving the King and Queen’s Ball and getting graduate students involved in campus events.
• A Student Diversity Symposium, sponsored by EY, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Student Assembly’s cabinet, will be taking place Feb. 22 in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.
• Caleb Rogers ’20, a member of SA’s Department of Public Affairs gave a presentation about the possibility of bringing electric Bird scooters to campus, which students could rent and use as a quick mode of transportation around the Williamsburg area.
• SA is currently hosting its FAQ Week until Jan. 24. On each day of this week, SA members will be tabling and answering student questions from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Sadler Center lobby.