Monday evening, the Rowan University Student Government Association (SGA) met for the final time in the spring semester in the Pfleeger auditorium in Wilson Hall. Despite being the last meeting of the semester, there were still plenty of topics to discuss.
In the open session, Dr. Penny McPherson Myers and Dr. Robert Weaver presented their findings from a survey on student hunger. Dr. McPherson Myers is the associate vice president for Diversity and Organizational Effectiveness at Rowan. Dr. Weaver is a professor of health and exercise science in the School of Health Professions.
The survey was sent out to all 14,000 undergraduate students 18 and older in November 2017. Of the students who were asked, 15 percent responded to the survey. From those results, several key findings were extrapolated. The first takeaway was that roughly 48 percent of undergraduate students on campus experience food insecurity, while roughly 31 percent of students will face very low food security. Also, almost one in every ten students reported they would sometimes not eat for a whole day because money was short, some of whom had done this in the last 30 days.
Another key finding is that food insecurity hits minority students the hardest, as African American and Hispanic students were 70 percent more likely to be food insecure than non-Hispanic Whites, and over twice as likely to face very low food security. That correlates to grades as the students who face food insecurity have a mean GPA of 2.91, as compared to food secure students, who have a mean GPA of 3.43.
As for solutions, Dr. McPherson Myers and Dr. Weaver noted that the S.H.O.P. was a relief to the problem, but there were still hurdles to cross to make the community food secure. Speaking after the presentation, Dr. Weaver said that his hope for the student body was that they gain a better understanding of the situation.
“I hope they take away a better understanding of the magnitude of the problem,” Weaver said. “Even if they’re not specifically affected by the issue, their fellow students, their friends, their classmates surely are. And I think it’s important that awareness increases and that we have a more understanding culture on campus, understanding of this and other kinds of issues pertaining to affordability so that when the time comes and we’re able to take some kind of actions to advance this, we are motivated and we are understanding of our obligation to our fellow students.”
The other major order of business to attend to was deliberation over two petitioning clubs. the organizations petitioning were She’s the First Rowan and the Inter-Greek Council. She’s the First is a non-profit organization supports girls who will be the first in their families to graduate high school. After the group made their pitch, discussion and deliberations followed. After a back and forth discussion, the measure was not approved. The inter-Greek Council was also not approved for petitioning status. Both groups will have an opportunity to present their cases for petitioning status again next year.
AVP of Club Development Matt Kyle said that while neither club passed muster in front of the student body, he saw no red flags during his evaluation of either organization.
“My job is to screen [the clubs] firsthand, see if they’re okay,” Kyle said. “So I look at their constitutions, and I didn’t see any issues. When it came to Inter-Greek Council I actually spoke with them, because it came up on my radar as ‘that’s odd, a Greek organization trying to come into SGA’. So I talked to Kayla [Rapparelli], who is the president of that, and we talked really in depth about what’s the differences, what you plan to do, so I kind of screened them both.”
As for the in-depth debate among the Senate body, Kyle said that it was encouraging to see people taking time to invest in the club participation process.
“Debate is always constructive,” Kyle said. “It’s always good to see different opinions. [In the end] it’s up to the Senate. That’s their job here, to share their own opinions.”
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