Debates were non-stop throughout the Seattle Pacific University Student Senate floor surrounding PICCA’s event funding, as founder Pierce Salave’a tearfully expressed the meaningful impact of the club on himself, peers, and the university’s community, ultimately receiving the amount of $3,000 toward their event, which was planned with a total over $10,000 for the finalized budget.
Following the new Committee for Student Clubs (CSC) policy, the Pacific Islands Cultural Club of Arts (PICCA) was the second club, following Ohana Club from last week, that came to advocate for the funding of their new signature event called “The Heart of the Pacific.”
It would feature the experience of four different cultures and include entertainment, food and decorations in Upper Gwinn, but as a brand new event, came to senate asking for the maximum funding of $4,000 which they could potentially provide.
In Salave’a’s opening statement, he explains that, “This event is special and needed on campus because we do bring a different side of cultural arts to our campus,” claiming from personal experience that it does draw students to attend the university as well and should be seen as an investment
Vice President of Finance Sarah Kirschner explained that $2,500 was prepared to be given instead of the $4,000 because, “This is a brand new event, there is no benchmark for success for an event that has not taken place before and we don’t know how successful it will be as important of an event as it is.”
However, since senators expressed interest in raising the $2,500 amount, conversation quickly turned to existing financial matters regarding ASSP and clubs.
The current balance before funding PICCA for winter quarter was $3,874.89.
Kirschner explained to senate that if every signature event was funded at $4,000, events will not happen because we do not have $4,000 to give to every event, like MODE’s fashion show, a Tribute to Africa, or Latinos Unidos that would potentially bring proposals.
Some searched for answers on how to cut down PICCA’s budget further, and resulted in asking Salave’a’s for an explanation about having four different types of costumes for the event.
“We are having multiple people dance different cultures, and are requesting different numbers of outfits because each culture is different and I’m not going to send someone out on the stage in a Mariana outfit dancing the hula. … There is that educational aspect about what makes each of our cultures unique and special and not just another stereotype,” Salave’a’s responded.
Some members of senate expressed that they believed PICCA deserved a raise in their funding. “I see PICCA as more of an investment: they show promise, their numbers increase each year, they have enthusiasm for events, and they have also brought kids into SPU,” Senator Ben Jenkins said.
Others however expressed why PICCA deserved only the $2,500.
Senator Sara Assaad stated that she believed, while there are a lot of factors at play, financials and event history need to take the biggest priority in their voting decision.
“They don’t have a history with events, $2,500 is a significant amount of money. … We also need to take into consideration that we have two proposals coming in and yes it is important to focus on events on campus that bring students in but there are other departments on campus that bring students in, not just cultural events… I mean I certainly wasn’t brought to SPU because of a cultural event.”
As tears filled Salave’a’s eyes he attempted to reply to Assaad, but had to stop and apologize while he composed himself to speak.
He replied, “I don’t understand how a school who is benefitting from what we are doing as a club through posters, ads,and performing at admitted student preview events, does not give the support my club should get, and it’s really discouraging to continue to put something towards this school if you guys do not see the importance of it.”
Salave’a did thank senate for the time to discuss the issue, but expressed that the appearance of a lack of support was discouraging after all their hard work for the university.
Senator Austin Matzelle passionately spoke after Salave’a’s emotional declaration in support, stating, “I know for a fact this event is going to be successful, they have been in multiple successful events before.”
Matzelle also directly addressed Assaad saying that, “Multiple people here who actually work for admissions see students coming in because of events like this bringing them, it may be one of the most impactful parts of a students education here at university.”
After senate, in an interview with PICCA’s treasurer, senior Maria Radaza Jallorina talked about how she has been with the club since the beginning and the meaning it has had in her own life.
“PICCA has been a safe haven,” Jallorina said, expressing that she chose SPU because of it. “Being a dancer and member of the club is going to be the most impactful highlight of going to school.”
Now having voted on two club proposals, senate and the presenting clubs were made fully aware about the upcoming proposals headed senate’s way for the winter and spring quarters.
“CSC policy is strictly financial and it can seem like we are placing value on your club and your culture, and just because we do not fund your full amount it does not mean that I do not support your club or believe in your event, … I do not want you to feel like your culture is not seen,” Vice President of Campus Activities Celeste Ajayi summed up right before voting on the amount funded.
The current balance for the club fund of winter quarter as of right now is $874.89, and time will tell whether that will be used, as two future proposals were confirmed by Kirschner to be on their way for the current quarter.
In Other Business:
Vice President of Campus Ministries Madyson Fulcher had her new by-laws approved by a passing vote in senate.
Student Jireh Rideque had her proposal approved and backed by Senator Austin Matzelle and Senator Sara Assaad to approve the renaming of a senate position to the senator of family and consumer sciences.