Senate approves controversial funding for travel

Posted by Kat Kullman

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, SGA Senate approved a supplement for students hoping to attend a medical aid program in Honduras during spring break.

Kelsea Sanderfur '13 and Leela Chandrasekar '12 requested a $1,760 supplemental for their trip with the VIDA.

This program is designed for pre-medical students, although no medical experience is necessary. The students stay in hospital dormitories and provide simple medical services at the understaffed facilities.

The students have the support of Skidmore's Responsible Citizens Task Force.

"The services we're providing there are for general public health, but the education is a two-way street. We'll be learning there, too. It's important and relevant for the Skidmore community because we can come back and teach the campus what we learned, and, if they're interested, how they can do the same," Chandrasekar said.

Many senators expressed concern because of the large amount of money the students requested from a relatively small group.

Their primary concern was larger groups who may want to do similar trips, but would no longer have the funds to do so. Senators also questioned whether such a small group would be able to represent Skidmore effectively abroad.

"It's about experiencing something we can't have here," Chandrasekar said. "It's about learning about global health care, a very pertinent issue today. It's taken us several years for this to gain support; we're traveling as individuals, but we're representing the community."

"What sets you guys apart is that you're here applying. Lots of kids on this campus want to save the world, but you've taken the steps to do it," Senator Dan Demartini ‘11 said.

The supplemental was passed with 24 yays and seven nays. After the students return from Honduras they will give a presentation on their trip and provide information on potential future travels.

In other news:

Senate approved a $1,850 supplemental for Bicycles Against Poverty to cover travel expenses and renting bikes.

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