A.S. Approves Funds for Club Row

Jorge Sandoval dropped his gavel for the first time to subdued applause from his fellow board members this Monday at 3 in the afternoon for the March 19 A.S. meeting. Due to President Jennifer Chen's absence from the day's proceedings, Sandoval presided over the affair, managing effectively despite his inexperience in chairing these meetings.

When Sandoval opened the floor for public comments, several of his fellow board members approached the podium to raise awareness for various campus programs, events, and clubs. Inter Club Council (ICC) Communications Officer Maritza Lopez pointed out that the I.D.E.A.S. club, which has existed for several years, according to their social media, has not been registered this semester. I.D.E.A.S. (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success), primarily focuses on providing resources and advocating for the rights of undocumented students. 

Sustainability Director Alexa Benavente mentioned that cookbooks from the California Department of Public Health will soon be made available free of charge to SMC students as part of the ongoing food security program at SMC. These cookbooks are intended to promote healthier and more sustainable eating.

Club Row, an event to showcase college clubs, spreads awareness of their functions and recruit new members, is an annual fixture at SMC, drawing thousands of students every year to the Quad Walkway on the main campus. A total of $8,700 was requested for the event, and the funds will be used to provide photo booths, hot water dispensers for Club stalls, and rentals for fixtures, tables, and chairs.

With the exception of Sandoval, who abstained, the board voted unanimously to approve the funds. Clubs are allowed to use up to $200 of their ICC allotment on food that they are allowed to sell for profit, as well as $600 on food and prizes for attendees. The participating clubs are encouraged to decorate their booths and tables, and for the first time, they are allowed to use $50 of their ICC allotment specifically for this purpose.

A contest will be held to judge the booths on their decorations and activities, though the judges have yet to be picked, professors and faculty members will be selected. For the first time this year, one of the criteria that will be taken into account for the competition is "depth", which Dr. Nancy Grass explained as clubs should "consider the message, or meaning, behind their decorations."

This criteria was established for the prospective "Black Panther" theme for this year's club row, which ignited fears of potential insensitivity and cultural appropriation. The event will be held next month on Thursday, April 26 during the activity period at 11:15 a.m.

With no more action items to discuss, the committee heads and faculty advisors made their reports. Responding to a previous issue that students have been having with expired water filters in the bottle filling stations around campus, Lopez reported, to applause from the gathered students, that the water filters were finally going to be fixed, ending three weeks of uncertainty for SMC's environmentally conscious students. After the rest of the reports were finished, the meeting adjourned at an unusually early time of 3:25 p.m. Clocking in at only 25 minutes, the meeting was the shortest to date this semester.