During the monthly Senate meeting held on Wednesday, March 22, Montclair State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) and deans discussed updates and changes on campus. There was mention of emergency services on campus, CARE reports, and continued talk of the new financial literacy program, iGrad, as well as new registered organizations.
Richard Steiner-Otoo, current SGA president, reported an additional ambulance that has been added to the fleet. This brings the total of Montclair State ambulances up to three.
Rikkira Harfield, a sophomore psychology major, wished the university was getting more.
“I definitely hope they have more [ambulances] as someone who had to actually use the EMTs here,” Harfield said. “Definitely super helpful.”
Other students, such as freshman sociology major Kristopher Rodriguez, think three is enough.
“I personally feel like three is more of a safety protocol,” Rodriguez said.
In the same vein, the discussion was turned toward the mental health and safety of students. Margaree Coleman-Carter, the dean of students, stressed the importance of being there for students and offering resources. She reported that the crisis, assessment, response and education team (CARE) meets regularly to evaluate concerning behaviors of students.
It was also noted that the dean of students, as well as other members of the CARE team, respond to concerns as a first line before the police do.
Rodriguez is happy that the police are not the first responders.
“I support this idea morally,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a great way [to ensure that] the kids don’t have a bounded weight on their chests, to feel that the second they say something “wrong,” the police will come in and take them somewhere else. [If people knew this, it would be] a great way for more kids to open up more.”
The Senate discussed the rollout of their new financial literacy program, iGrad. This website allows students to find out what their financial stressors are, budget, keep track of student loans, find scholarships and more.
Students were pleased with this new program.
Emma Geoghegan, a junior policy studies major, thinks this is a great program.
“This new course definitely sounds better, and people can factor in how they’re living now, people can factor in other stuff they have going on in their life,” Geoghegan said.
“Definitely an improvement [to Financial Avenue],” Harfield said. “I know so many students, myself included, who just didn’t feel like they benefited from Financial Avenue.”
Steiner-Otoo also announced that there are now over 130 organizations and clubs that are registered or in the process of registering with the SGA. This is a large increase from the mere 43 that had been on campus last year.
Rodriguez is concerned with the engagement of all of these new clubs.
“The question is how are they going to get more people into those clubs,” Rodriguez said. “I know in certain cases, yeah, you have your fun times and everything, but it’s skeptical, knowing one club has 20 people, while another only has three. Is it really a club? It’s more of a gathering.”
Geoghegan, who is working on building a sociology club, is pleased with the larger amount of SGA registered organizations, and the process of how to become one.
“It’s been a good process, a collaborative process,” Geoghegan said. “We are hoping to be done registering at the end of this semester, so we can start and get into the swing of things for next semester. I don’t think it’s a super complicated process, and I understand why they have certain things in place, they want to make sure the people in the orgs are actually passionate about the orgs and are going to stick by SGA regulations.”
Harfield believes that the increase in clubs is beneficial, as it will give students a larger variety of spaces to connect with those who have similar interests.
“That’s a great amount,” Harfield said. “It definitely allows more students to express themselves, and be more creative and get together and do that.”