Tuesday, Aug. 31, the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly Senate convened via Zoom for a special session ahead of the first day of undergraduate classes. At the meeting, senators approved an Activities and Events funding request from the Asian American Student Initiative and introduced four new bills to be voted on next week.
The Senate began the meeting by discussing AASI’s $4,000 funding request to bring Çudamani, an Indonesian ensemble of musicians and dancers, to Williamsburg. The event, which will be held in the theater at the Williamsburg Regional Library Sept. 23, will be free and open to both students and the general public.
“We thought that having a South Asian group, especially one that focuses more on the cultural aspect of it, would be really good and really beneficial for the campus and also for the general Williamsburg community to come in and learn,” AASI representative Irene Liu ’23 said.
Liu and fellow AASI member Grace Liscomb ’23 assured senators that the indoor event, with an anticipated attendance of around 200, would follow all COVID health and safety protocols, including adherence to the city’s indoor mask mandate. They emphasized that the cultural and educational event aligns with the goals of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department and the Asian Centennial cluster of courses. As a result, they are seeking additional funding from the Global Studies Department and the Center for the Liberal Arts, among other campus departments.
After the discussion period, senators unanimously approved the request.
Later in the meeting, senators introduced four bills, including the Sankofa Legacy Fest Act, sponsored by Sen. Shaunna Scott ’23. The bill seeks $8,300 from SA Reserves to fund a 3-hour celebration of Black heritage at the College, centered around the Sankofa Seed sculpture on campus. The Fest would be held during the fall semester and would include professional and student performances, food and crafts vendors and various arts from the African Diaspora.
The funding would go toward bringing in musical performers as well as purchasing t-shirts, posters and inks that can be sold to fund the event.
Also at the meeting, Senate Chair Owen Williams ’23 introduced the 9/11 Wreath Funding Act, which allocates $150 from SA Reserves to purchase a commemorative wreath for the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. In previous years, SA had granted this money to the Queens’ guard, the College’s military color guard organization, whose members then purchased and guarded the wreath. However, Queens’ Guard is no longer recognized by the College due to conduct violations. The bill calls for SA to handle oversight of the wreath in respect of this tradition.
Williams also introduced the Class of 2020 Dance Funding Act, which calls for SA to support the Class of 2020 by allocating $3,200 to help defer the costs of their delayed senior class dance, which is now scheduled for October during homecoming weekend. SA typically funds a portion of the senior class dance for each class from their Student Activities Fee, but due to COVID-related cancellations during 2020, the Class of 2020’s dance funds were returned to SA Reserves. Typically, this dance costs SA $15,000 and relies on ticket funds to break even. However, the University Commencement Committee has requested only $3,200 from SA for this year’s event.
All new bills will be voted on at next week’s meeting.
Also at this week’s meeting:
- Class of 2024 President Vicka Heidt ’24 introduced the Chalk Art Competition Act, which would allocate $950 from SA Reserves to fund water and lemonade stations and facilities fees at the Sept. 4 and 5 Chalk Art and “Art Walk” events hosted by the Muscarelle Museum of Art.