By Brooke Schultz
Elm Staff Writer
The Student Government Association (SGA) is looking to fund two new proposals for the Washington College campus: a new boat for the wakeboarding club and a kitchen in the Goose Nest.
The proposals are still in early phases. The senate just recently approved funding for the boat, and they are still discussing logistics of the kitchen proposal.
For both the boat and the kitchen, President of the SGA Taylor Frey said, “The money for both the boat and the kitchen comes from our capital funds budget, which is separate from the operating budget. This account is specifically reserved for spending to help increase student enjoyment and experience.”
“The Senate approved a $28,500 cap on the purchase of a new boat for the wakeboarding club,” Financial Controller Junior Alex Smith said. While no boat has been purchased yet, “Ben Arminger, the waterfront director, is working with a local dealer in Elkton to secure a specific boat in question.”
The purchase of the boat comes after “years of work” that started with former SGA officers Katie Young, 2014, and senior Tyler Abbott.
“We already have ensured that insurance will carry over to a new boat and a depreciation schedule is in place. We are confident that a new boat will be docked at the waterfront ready for student use come this spring,” Smith said.
The boat will have safety features that the current wakeboarding boat lacks, such as cruise control, adjusting ballast, and the ability to set the wake to the skier’s skill level.
“The old boat was just a financial burden,” Smith said. “Costing SGA and the boathouse thousands of dollars over the last three years in repairs. At this point, the boat needs a new engine and engine cover, and the cost associated with doing so cannot be justified in an old, low quality boat.”
The current boat will be sold as it is, and the money garnered from the sale will be returned to SGA.
Beyond its new safety features and seeming cost benefits, Dr. Mark Hampton, vice president for finance, said that it “could be very useful as a recruitment tool for new students.”
Smith agreed. “When prospective students are on a tour of the waterfront, the wakeboard boat is something point toward in addition to the varsity teams and provides a ‘wow’ factor,” he said.
Dr. Hampton believes the kitchen in the Goose Nest could accomplish the same thing, “since students who have special dietary needs or preferences would be able to prepare meals appropriate to their circumstances,” he said. “It could also be a great asset for student clubs and informal groups.”
There are still risks that the kitchen will not be a good investment if maintenance and cleaning along with student demand are not kept up. “The worst possible outcome that I imagine is that we have a dirty, poorly maintained kitchen that no one uses. That’s certainly not going to help recruit students,” he said.
The SGA still needs to work on creating a proposal for the kitchen with Buildings and Grounds and Dining Services, and currently no final cost or vote has been made yet. Smith said that SGA plans to have the proposals finalized in the next couple of weeks and will determine whether or not the costs are justifiable.
Buildings and Grounds would have to address fire safety, plumbing, ventilation, and the maintenance and cleaning of the kitchen. Chartwells, the dining services contractor, would also have to approve the idea of a self-serve kitchen.
Still, Smith referred to the kitchen as a “no-brainer.” The idea for the kitchen was first mentioned by peer mentors when Smith and other mentors were in the Goose Nest of the summer.
“The Goose Nest is an area for students, and the bar that is there is a non-functioning space. Creating a space for clubs to host their meetings and events will pull groups into the Goose Nest, making it a sought-after space,” Smith said. He suggested bake sales and quesadilla nights as potential uses of the kitchen. “The possibilities are endless.”
The kitchen will move the large number of students in clubs out of the Sassafras and Reid spaces and eliminate the noise surrounding the studying areas. Students would still be able to use the other kitchen facilities, but the Goose Nest would be an added option.
SGA President Taylor Frey said he is excited about the new proposals this semester that will positively affect students, beyond just the boat and kitchen. “Vice President Gibbons and I are focused on ways we can put students first, make student government open and accountable, and prioritize programs and initiatives that affect the lives of as many students as possible,” he said.
Dr. Hampton believes that the proposals have benefits for showing students how colleges work. “Because of fees that students pay, funds are available to do some potentially cool things, and SGA and the full student body should use this opportunity to see what students really want in order to make their time at WC better,” he said.
By Brooke Schultz