SGA discusses potential changes to Rebecca’s, SAF, GSuite at town hall


Isabella Galinkin

SGA officials pictured, from left, Billy Opet, Chris Brown, Keiler Dunbar, Gabby Nobile and Hanna Nuttall.

Jessica Silverman, news staff

Northeastern’s Student Government Association, or SGA, held its first town hall of the semester Oct. 20, offering students a chance to pose questions to SGA leaders. 

The panel consisted of President Chris Brown, Executive Vice President Gabby Nobile, Vice President for Student Involvement Keiler Dunbar, Vice President for Academic Affairs Hanna Nuttal and Vice President for Student Services Billy Opet. A variety of topics were brought up during the hour-long town hall, but the event itself had a low student turnout.

The SGA leadership began the town hall by bringing up projects they are excited about. Brown cited his efforts to have Rebecca’s Cafe, a favorite among students, open on weekends. Rebecca’s is currently open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m on weekdays. 

“I’ve talked with [Director of Dining Services] Maureen Timmons, and she’s onboard. The Rebecca’s manager is onboard. The pushback we are getting now is the director of private universities at Rebecca’s. Right now, they’re not willing to try to [open on weekends], so we’re still trying to work with them, seeing what [it] would take to at least get a pilot, but right now they’re trying to set up roadblocks. I hope to have it done before we leave office,” Brown said.

A student attendee asked if more eateries on campus could be put on the meal exchange system in a similar manner to Rebecca’s, specifically Chicken Lou’s. Brown said this is difficult because not all of the proceeds from a swipe go to the specific company students are swiping at, making many places hesitant to participate.

Brown also talked about his attempts to increase the Student Activity Fund, or SAF, so student organizations can get more funding.

“The most interesting project I’m working on is helping to get more funds for the SAF. I’ve been working a lot with the Office of Alumni Relations and we’re trying to create an endowed fund using Giving Day donations, as well as talking with very successful alumni to [make] more active donations,” Brown said. “Hopefully this will create a large enough pool where we can have interest payments go into the SAF and be available for student use, after that. But also to be able to have some donations to make sure that this next year every club could get fully funded.”

As the rest of the executive board continued explaining their latest projects, Opet, who oversees the SGA Sustainability Board and the Student Services committee, mentioned his excitement for the work his team is doing to bring composting to residential halls.

“So, [composting in residential halls] is something we had a lot of people reach out about. That’s something that we’re moving forward to contacting facilities about. I know it was a referenda in the past, and it was something that students in the past have expressed interest in, so that’s one thing I would say that between both Sustainability Board and Student Services [committee], we’re pretty passionate about doing,” Opet said.

Dunbar said the Student Involvement Board is looking to revamp the entire club recognition process. When the form to register as a club for this semester closes, it will be the last group of clubs that will be recognized using the old process. Dunbar said the spring form will be different but did not go into specifics. 

Nuttal, who is graduating in the spring, said the two most important things for her to accomplish before she leaves Northeastern are implementing TRACE for co-op programs and establishing a textbook exchange system. Nuttal also addressed her work with Vice President for Student Affairs Erykah Kangbeya and the Roosevelt Institute on the referendum passed by students in the spring, which called on Northeastern to have sexual assault consent and bystander training in all introduction to college courses.

“This week [Kangbeya] and I … met with someone from Roosevelt Institute about getting the referendum question about [introduction] to college courses having consent training, and also putting out the resources that we have on campus [more effectively] for survivors,” Nuttall said. “That’s something that’s largely going to be coming out of the College Expectations subcommittee of Academic Affairs, but [Kangbeya] is also exploring different ways to get that information out to upperclassmen who didn’t have that [in their introduction] to college courses.” 

Besides upcoming projects, Brown talked about the tailgate SGA held on Oct. 15 and his hope to continue them in the future. Brown also mentioned his planned meeting with the Chief of Information at Northeastern, during which they will discuss if the university will continue using G Suite and Google services, or if the administration will switch to Outlook by Microsoft. 

When asked about students’ relationship with Northeastern administrators, Brown said he believes they have students’ best interests in mind.

“I would say for the most part that the Northeastern administration has the right mindset. They want to help students — that’s why they’re here — but I think a lot of the time they’re not on the same page as to what would be best,” Brown said.

The town hall had a very low student turnout and was mostly attended by senators and other members of SGA. Almost all of the questions were asked by Cameron Woods, SGA’s executive director of communications, from a prepared list. Woods said not many students submitted questions despite SGA providing a link for them to do so.

“On all the flyers we sent out, it had a QR code that you can scan which could take you to the Google form where you could submit questions. No one really did that since it was kind of last minute,” Woods said. “The flyers were only up in [residential] halls this past week, so we’re hoping as we have town halls for certain topics we could target certain groups like that.”