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The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate voted to approve a $10,000 program grant to Relay for Life.

The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate passed an amendment clarifying members’ service requirements and approved a $10,000 program grant request for Relay for Life at Tuesday’s meeting. 

SGA adjusts members’ service requirements

The Senate passed an amendment to its constitution specifying service hours. The amendment requires SGA members to be involved in at least two hours of external service and two hours of internal service per semester. 

Junior Abby Canella, SGA membership chair, was the sole dissent on the amendment.

“I thought that the wording in the amendment was not super clear and that it discourages participation in outside volunteering events,” Canella said in a written statement to The Breeze after the meeting. “We should be encouraging volunteering within the community as much as possible.”

The amendment was proposed by senior Andrea Mariscal-Guzman, SGA’s community engagement (CAGE) chairperson. The amendment was previously read during the Nov. 29 Senate meeting and fulfilled the two-week waiting period required prior to voting.

Mariscal-Guzman said external service includes community events sponsored by SGA, while internal service includes all events SGA is directly involved in, including SGA elections. 

“The whole purpose of this amendment … was to specify exactly what [service hours] involve,” Mariscal-Guzman said. “I just want to make sure everyone gets their hours in. It is really important to the committee and its purpose.”

Outside of external and internal service, the amendment states that each outside volunteer opportunity will be counted as one half-hour of service.

The amendment also adjusts the responsibilities of the CAGE chairperson. The chairperson will determine which internal events will meet service hour requirements and ensure each SGA member fulfills the service requirement of four hours total. 

Previously, Mariscal-Guzman said the SGA constitution lacked specificity on the number of required hours for internal and external service as well as the chairperson’s ability to enforce and enable fulfillment of said requirements. The penalty for members who have failed to reach their service requirements by the end of the spring semester was also adjusted from elimination of membership to being placed on probationary status.

“I’m really excited,” Mariscal-Guzman told The Breeze after the meeting adjourned. “For the first time in the SGA, we have a definite definition of what it means to do your CAGE hours. As a committee chair, I feel it is important for our members to contribute to the community and contribute to the SGA.” 

SGA approves Relay for Life program grant request

The Senate unanimously approved a $10,000 program grant for Relay for Life — a community-based fundraising event for the American Cancer Society — for its main event on April 28. Relay for Life requested the grant to help cover event fees, activities, entertainment and participation incentives.

Senior Brandon Market, who also serves as SGA’s executive treasurer, represented Relay for Life. According to Relay for Life’s presentation, the event unites over 100 JMU clubs and organizations. This year, the event will be co-hosted by the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Sigma Phi Delta fraternity.

Market said Relay for Life is JMU’s top-performing fundraising event. During last year’s Relay for Life, more than 1,000 people participated, and over $150,000 was raised, Market said.

The $10,000 grant will be supplemented by the group’s own fundraising efforts. Market said $10,000 is the maximum amount of money for an approvable program grant.

Throughout the first semester, $38,600 was raised from other fundraising efforts, which included events like the Kickoff Event, Back to School Basket Challenge, Breast Week Ever and $48 in 48 Challenge, Market said.

“Not only [is] the legacy of this event… impressive but it is an organization that lets students participate in a community greater than JMU,” junior Matt Haynicz, SGA representative, said.

Contact Eleanor Shaw at shaweo@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.