The Farmingdale State College Student Government Association, by their own words, are, “the unified voice of the student body.” They oversee many facets of the student experience here on campus such as working with the administration to enact changes that they believe would enhance the campus as a whole, managing the disbursement of collected student activity funds, and providing events to engage the student population. Even though FSC is a relatively small school, the SGA still holds a lot of responsibility and makes choices that directly affect each and every student on this campus. But not many students really know who they are or what they do, myself included. So that’s why I set out to see for myself what the SGA is really about.
The Friday afternoon that the SGA was meeting was calm and cool. The campus was all but empty, something I noticed as I made my way up the stairs of Quintyne Hall. In my head I had always imagined the meeting place of the SGA as this regal or fancy hall, where all sorts of important business got done. But to my surprise they were just meeting in room 109 of Quintyne Hall, not to say that it was anything bad, I just let my imagination go a bit far at times. I entered the building worried I was late but luckily they hadn’t started yet. I was welcomed by the current SGA president Jake Iaccino and his secretary Emely Arizaga-Molina, who were out in the hall in their own conversation and getting ready for the meeting. Secretary Emely then gave me one of her homemade passion fruit rollups that she had. Of course I had one and it was very good. After exchanging some brief words with the two of them, I made my way into the room.
The senators were all scattered about and talking amongst themselves when I entered the room. I sat down towards the back of the room in an effort to be as inconspicuous as possible. Unfortunately my cover was blown when Senator Mazen greeted me. Rats! Eventually more senators flooded into the room as Pres. Iaccino got ready with his board to begin the meeting. At this point I felt a very warm atmosphere in the room, as I watched everyone wrapped up in their own casual conversations. It was like a group of friends seeing each other after a long weekend away. I then made my way to one of the empty seats at the table and took a seat. I immediately noticed a laminated paper and small paddle with a thumbs up on one side and a thumbs down on the other. My first thought was to take the paddle. But I resisted those urges. I would find out the paddles were used for voting by the senators. The laminated paper next to it was full of preset phrases that the senators could use as a blueprint to guide conversation during their meetings. As I sat there observing everything, I noticed Sen. Giancarlos pulled out his computer. Naturally I asked what it was for. He answered that he was trying to be better by keeping notes, and that he wants to be on top of things. Well said. I then conversed with some of the other Senators sitting next to me. Fun fact, Sen. Jairo only wears crewnecks if his hair is done right. Do what you will with that information.
After about a minute or two, Pres. Iaccino called the meeting to order. He did so with a small gavel and block at the head of the table. They had reached quorum, which is the minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid (50% of the Senators is the SGA minimum), and commenced their meeting. A roll call followed, where each member stated, “[Full name] and I am present”. Vice Pres. Destini Buchanan then begins with an administrative report going over general issues, resolutions they have passed, resolutions they had hoped to discuss, one in particular being the Gleason Hall bathroom initiative. For a bit of context, the bathrooms in Gleason Hall have been known to be a bit unsanitary and chock full of all sorts of interesting “art” and “phrases” on the walls. While I think some of the material is creative, many students do not share this same sentiment. With this initiative the SGA hopes they can get the administration to make the bathroom into a more sanitary environment. (This resolution is led by Sen. Usha.)
Once VP Buchanan was finished, Secretary Emely took over, presenting her own report and what she was up to. The VP and Secretary both spoke in a very professional manner as they went over their separate reports, leaving me quite impressed honestly.
As the meeting goes on, I notice that after anything is brought up, or if they want to continue something, someone has to “second it”. They do this without fail anytime something is brought up.
After they go over a few more items such as the upcoming Multicultural Gala and the Black Excellence Gala, Sen. Kellie Wylie gets up to introduce her resolution. She’s part of the group of senators who just joined this semester. She went up to the podium at the front of the room and put her resolution document on the big screen. Her resolution is to “Beautify Gleason”. She goes over her reasoning for wanting to “beautify” the building and the benefits she believes that will come from doing so. Even though she was still very new to the SGA, she provided a good argument for her resolution and did it in an easy to understand manner. The other members did have some notes for her though. VP Destini had a particularly thrilling and honestly mind blowing one, which was to “add pictures”. Truly awe-inspiring. Sen. Kellie was very open to suggestions and as a group everyone provided good feedback, while suggesting realistic insight into her resolution.
The next Senator to present their resolution was Sen. Giancarlo. His resolution was to provide therapy dogs on campus during finals week. He proceeds to provide numerous facts and research that go over the numerous benefits therapy dogs can have, including helping with the stress we often find ourselves dealing with come that dreaded finals week. I for one fully support this resolution. Dogs are cool. His resolution had an overall positive reception among the senators. The board members, with their ever pragmatic outlooks, had some questions. VP Destini asked about when and where this event could take place. Pres. Iaccino, in a very thoughtful manner, asked about a vendor who could provide the dogs and encouraged more research. Both the VP and President have a sort of veteran presence about them, and you can tell by the way they talk and the practical stance they take on most issues. Secretary Emely then explains that they bring up the small details because they are just as important as the larger details, especially when their goal is to be detail oriented.
The rest of the meeting goes by as expected. Some more resolutions are introduced and debated. Sen. Maz keeps staring at me. Nothing out of the ordinary. Eventually, VP Destini asks if they’re ready to adjourn. But then Pres. Iaccino whispers something to her. She then announces there will be no adjournment and that the meeting will continue. Confusion among the senators ensues. A disappointing look comes across the faces of some of them as the realization that they cannot go home slowly sets in. VP Destini then reminds everyone that they have them until 12. Me included.
“So why can’t they go home?” you might ask. Well because there are boxes. Specifically, boxes that they have to bring to the storage room downstairs. They will also have to organize said storage room. It gets a little hectic amongst the group when they realize what they’re tasked with. Pres. Iaccino soon gets them all back on track with his gavel. This is not a fate that they can escape. The group then begins to shuffle out of the room and to the SGA office. I follow along after them.
As we enter the office I notice that it’s a bit cramped, mainly due to the boxes everywhere. Boxes aside though, the space was actually very quaint. As all the senators made their way through the room, there was some visible frustration, mainly because they had to move boxes. This frustration was especially felt by Pres. Iaccino, who did not believe that this was their responsibility. He had some other choice words, but I will not be including them, unfortunately. (Pres. Iaccino and VP Destini had some slight disagreements on what I should include, with the latter later prevailing).
With boxes in hand the group then made their way to the storage room. The moment I stepped into the room, I was met with a very foul smell. I mentioned this to Pres. Iaccino, and he said the smell was most likely the asbestos. Wonderful. (For all intents and purposes, Pres. Iaccino’s comment was a joke).
The storage room itself was pretty messy, with all sorts of boxes and bags lying around. It had been in use since 2021 and stored things like SGA merch and various student club property. It got a bit chaotic as the senators began their organization effort. While they did so, I made my way around the room to hear some of the senator’s thoughts on the situation.
VP Destini said, “We’re just organizing.”
Sen. Josh said, “It’s gotten really messy.”
An unnamed senator believed that, “They should’ve adjourned before the boxes.”Sen. Kevell said, “I didn’t even know there were boxes,” and that. “surprises usually happen often.”
Sen. Giancarlo said, “This is our duty because we are students and this does help. As a group we’re aiding in being more organized.”
As you can tell there were some mixed reactions from the senators when it came to their current predicament. After a few minutes, I decided that I wanted to get a more indepth view from the senators, so 1 by 1 I pulled a few of the senators aside to ask some more questions.
Senator Ashley: Newer Senator
Believes the boxes have to be done but does believe it is a bit odd because, “we usually leave after meetings.”
Doesn’t mind though.
Believes the meeting they had was effective.
Doesn’t really know everyone well yet but feels like everyone is welcoming so far.
Senator Jairo: Senator with nice hair (Jairo is pronounced with a H)
Doesn’t mind the boxes, believes they do have to keep their space clean.
Believes that the meeting went well and that they got a lot of resolutions out today.
Has been a senator since the fall semester.
Feels like the faculty has been generally supportive and believes he hasn’t seen a full picture yet though.
The SGA has had some disagreements in their meetings but, “that’s part of the beauty of why we have 2 hour meetings every Friday”
It’s also a constructive environment and no one’s afraid to say what they have to say. They just want to excel and be better.
“I can’t speak for everyone but I can be better”
Anonymous Senator: They are a senator
Believes that the meeting was effective and that there was a lot of great ideas/brainstorming being passed around. They all had really good feedback for each other and believe this feedback helps a lot when it comes to getting things done.
Being a senator wasn’t what they thought it was going to be like. They met a lot of great people and believe that they’re all really good at uplifting each other. There’s a lot of work that goes into everything they do and anytime anyone accomplishes something, they’re proud.
Even though it’s a great organization with some great people, they don’t like the way their advisor Eunice Ro, who is supposed to be there for feedback, is always on her phone and always rude to everyone in SGA. Even during readings she is really focused on her phone and they wish that they had someone who actually cared there. They believe that it’s disrespectful for everyone in the room, especially coming from someone who is “grown”.
After I finished with my interviews, I decided that my time with the SGA had run its course. Although the time I spent with them was brief (made longer by boxes), I did what I set out to do, and that was to find out for myself who the SGA was. And like most of us on campus, they’re just students. A group of students who decided they wanted to try to make a change. And for that they have my respect. But don’t just take my word for it. Go find out for yourself. All you have to do is stop by Quintyne 109 or just follow them on Instagram. Anyway to you the reader, I hope you enjoyed my afternoon with the SGA.
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