Senate hears guest speakers, budget presentation


Nicole Girgen

Scott Ellinghuysen speaks to student senate about the financial budget for the 2020-21 school year, currently the university is facing a 3-5% budget reduction however the budget has not yet been finalized.

Kristin Kovalsky, News Reporter

Wednesday Nov. 6 , Winona State University’s Student Senate held their weekly meeting.

Three guest speakers spoke at the meeting.

The first speaker was Connie Kamara, health and wellness promotion coordinator. She introduced a new health challenge in the health and wellness program.

The challenge is called “Got Health and Happiness?” and can be completed in teams or individually. It focuses on the relationship between health and happiness.

The second speaker was senior, Kennedy Utz. She asked Senate for funds for her and two other students to attend the National American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco.

At the Northland ACSM conference in October, Utz and her two peers competed in the college bowl against other colleges that attended the conference.

The three Winona State students placed first at the college bowl and were invited to represent Winona State in San Francisco at the national conference in May.

Later in the meeting, Senate members discussed whether or not Utz and the other students would receive the funds they asked for. Senate tabled the decision to discuss at a later date.

The following guest speakers were president Scott Olson and vice president of finance and administrative services Scott Ellinghuysen.

Olson and Ellinghuysen presented the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Within the upcoming fiscal year, there will be budget cuts at the university.

Olson and Ellinghuysen said that the cuts will come from various parts of the university, not just cutting from one specific section.

Following Olson and Ellinghuysen’s presentation, treasurer of Student Senate Clara Kuerschner presented a committee recommendation from the finance and facilities committee.

The recommendation put into writing what students want protected when it comes to cuts.

The items that will be considered for preservation when it comes to budget cuts are the KEAP Center, RE Initiative and gender-based violence (GBV) training, academic programs and mental health counselor positions.

“I think it covers a lot of what we’ve been fighting for these last few years,” Kuerschner said. “We’ve always been fighting for the mental health counselors in our wellness center, and we’ve been fighting for GBV training and the Re Initiative for a couple of years now.”

The committee recommendation was passed by student senate.

In addition to the committee recommendation being passed, there was another motion passed by senate.

Dream Closet requested $649 from senate to fund their event.

The funds would cover t-shirts for volunteers, advertisements and refreshments at the event.

Dream Closet’s event aims to help those in the community by donating unwanted clothes. It is an opportunity for Winona State to give back.

Senator DeMaris said that he has always supported Dream Closet when they come to Senate.

“I think that there are a lot of things that we do and don’t decide to give money to, but I think this is an inherently positive one that helps out a lot of people, and I’m always a big fan of it when it comes around,” DeMaris said.