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DSG confirms new student organizations, revises funding for arts groups in Wednesday meeting

Duke Student Government Senate conducted their second meeting this academic year Wednesday, confirming committee nominees, updating Student Organization Finance Committee policy and chartering and recognizing organizations.

Senate President Pro Tempore Devan Desai, a junior, opened up with announcements about upcoming elections. First-year election applications are due the night of Sept. 6 and at-large election applications are due the following week on Sept. 10.

Senators nominated and confirmed nominees for open spots in the Financial Oversight and Appeals Committee, Committee for Facilities and the Environment and Board of Elections. They also confirmed existing nominees for the Council for Arts. 

SOFC Chair Drew Flanagan, a junior, introduced a policy update for clubs seeking funding on crafting activities. Under the proposed update, the policy allows for funding for non-reusable supplies, but lowers the funding allocation per person from 10 dollars to five dollars.

Flanagan said surveys of arts organizations showed that the existing funding was too much. This, combined with previous changes that had restricted purchases of reusable items with SOFC funds, led to the decreased allocation. Senators subsequently confirmed the update.

In other business

Senators introduced two new additions to their weekly meetings. The Public Comments Section, starting on Sept. 8, will allow those in the Duke community to bring their concerns or questions directly to DSG, and Project Roundtable will enable senators from different committees to share their knowledge of different projects and committees to better inform senators of ongoing DSG activities.

DSG also chartered clubs that had missed deadlines for the previous academic year. They chartered the Duke Arab Student Organization, a cultural organization for the Arab community, and Our Urban Future, an organization centered around urban planning and design.

Additionally, senators confirmed recognition of the American Physician Scientists Association, a branch of a national organization that seeks to combine both clinical and scientific fields for those seeking a dual doctoral (MD-PhD) degree.

“There are a lot of groups on campus that appeal to students who are interested in either medicine or science, but there aren’t any to my knowledge that appeal to students who are interested in both,”  junior Julia Gardner said. 

Senators tabled recognition of Duke Grassroots, an environmental organization involved with soil and water conservation in the local Durham community, over concerns of redundancy and a need for better information about the nature of the club.

Flanagan spoke to DSG senators and vice presidents about encouraging clubs to stay on course with their events rather than cancelling. He stated that restrictions on clubs due to COVID-19 are not the same as those from the last academic year and that funding will be available for food and other event expenses as long as events are registered and following Duke policies on outdoor dining.

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