SG funds first of its kind Student Affairs Correspondents’ Dinner

The Student Government (SG) legislative branch will be hosting a Student Affairs Correspondents’ Dinner that will be similar in concept to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

It will also cost $7,800.

Of this amount, $3,000 will cover the cost of food, while $4,800 will pay for professional videography services to capture the event.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable to spend $4,000 on a videographer,” said Sen. Suzane Nazir at Tuesday’s Senate meeting. “I think we’re being quite hypocritical. We preach fiscal responsibility all the time, yet we’re spending $4,000 on a videographer … The videography has no impact for students.”

The videography service will include two cameras and three crew members who will film at the dinner and create and edit a video — which SG says will be used to promote the event as a tradition moving forward.

The money used to fund the dinner will come from the Activity and Service (A&S) fee unrestricted reserve account, which derives directly from fees students pay in their tuition. At Tuesday night’s Senate meeting, Yousef Afifi, Senate president pro-tempore, made an unallocated cash request for these funds.

“This would be the one bit of programming the legislative branch has, in addition to small little events we do on the side that don’t really count, like Snacks with the Senators that are a couple hundred dollars,” Afifi said at the Senate meeting.

The request was approved with 23 Senators voting yes and two no.

Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine has not yet signed off on the request, but he has eight more days from Thursday to approve or veto it.

The A&S fee is included in every student’s tuition and costs about $12 per credit hour and $7 per semester. This means that a student taking 15 credit hours in a particular semester would pay about $188 in total for this fee, which helps fund student organizations and homecoming events.

After Afifi presented this request at the meeting, a brief discussion period followed where it appeared most of the Senators who commented were in favor of the allocation of these funds to the event.

Sen. Salud Martinez said this dinner will help Senators increase awareness of what their role is in SG, as well as present opportunities to pitch ideas that will enhance the student experience to influential administrators.

“I’m in complete support of every part of this,” Martinez said.

Only a few Senators expressed opposition during this period due to the cost for the videography services. One of those opposing, Sen. Samantha Whyte says she’s for the event, just not the video costs.

“I see the importance of it, but we’re spending $8,000 on dinner,” Whyte said. “I get it, but $5,000 of it is photography and videos of it that I’m not going to watch. No student is going to watch it.”

Afifi said that filming the event would help to establish it as a tradition moving forward, as opposed to the ineffective approach of passing it down by word-of-mouth.

Afifi has sent invitations for this event and, according to him, about 138 have responded yes, 30 said maybe and 80 say they won’t attend. He plans to send out about 100 to 150 more invites.

Even though specific invites are being sent out, the event is open to all students who wish to come when it occurs on Nov. 15 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Formal dress is encouraged. Afifi will be hosting the event himself, and various people will speak — which will include Kherieddine and the SG Judicial Branch, among others.

“This is something very cost-effective,” Afifi said. “It’s something I’ve ironed out the details for very well.”