SGA is now requiring registered student organizations (RSOs) to complete five hours of community service per year in order to receive funding.
The new amendment, passed during the Sept. 17 meeting, requires that “RSOs that receive SGA funding are required to complete five hours of community service or philanthropy in the academic year in which they received funding,” and is effective immediately.
SGA President Austen Hall says that the goal aims to increase Missouri Western’s connection to St. Joseph.
“The goal of the community service, at least the way I understood it, was to connect the community of St. Joseph with the university itself,” Hall said.
Bill author and Parliamentarian Kaylee Sharp says that, additionally, the bill will allow SGA to highlight the community service that RSOs do.
“I don’t think that very many people do community service and when they do, I think it flies under the radar,” Sharp said. “We want to make sure that RSOs get recognized for the community service that they do.”
Hall says that RSOs that have already been approved for funding will be grandfathered in and will not have to meet the community service requirement this year.
“Obviously, if they were already approved for funding, we aren’t going to go in and say in retrospect ‘hey, you have to do five community service hours,’” Hall said.
During first reading, Sept. 10, several members of both the senate and executive board proposed to increase the requirement from 5 to 10. Griffs Give Back Director Andrea Gordon says that the current requirement sets a poor standard for community service.
“In my opinion, I feel as if having five is setting the standard so low,” Gordon said. “If you’re going to introduce a bill that is going to make RSOs turn in community service, then you want to set an actual standard.”
Gordon says that RSOs would not struggle to accumulate 10 hours of community service of the course of the academic year.
“Literally coming in a hour every other weekend would get you 5 hours,” Gordon said. “If you were to bump that, it’s not hard to do two hours of community service every once and awhile. It’s not too much to ask for.”
Sharp says that the bill was drafted in order to test RSOs’ response to the new requirement.
“I personally don’t think that people will be apt to do the 10 hours,” Sharp said. “I’d like them to, but I just don’t think that they will. If we’re going to have negative reinforcement like that, we need to make it reasonable and feasible to do.”
“For me, and I think this senate, I don’t think we’re giving it a fair enough shake if we don’t let it play out for at least this year and see how things go,” Sharp said.
Between the first reading and final voting, SGA sent an email to the presidents of all RSOs. Sharp says that none of the presidents responded. This left SGA with little information about how RSOs might react.
“All of the asking what people did was leg work done by senators, leg work done by people on the e board just trying to gage things out,” Sharp said.
“At the end of the day, with what little feedback we got, it just came to what we thought would be best,” Sharp said. “The bill that was presented, honestly, was what I thought would be best at the time.”
The deadline for community service will be the end of the academic year, which is in May. Each RSO is required to complete the community service hours as a group or at least as a group of multiple members.