This week in Senate: Benedetti speaks on fitness center, parking garage

Vice President for Business and Finance Marco Benedetti spoke at Tuesday’s USA Senate meeting to update senators on the progress of the Palisano Fitness Center and the school’s parking garage.

Dr. Dan Dentino, vice president for student affairs, and Dr. Sara Morris, vice president for academic affairs, explained the college is going to implement a real-time link where students and faculty can access the COVID-19 cases in real-time.

Canisius’ Vice President for Business and Finance Marco Benedetti spoke during Senate to update senators on what is happening with the Palisano fitness center project to allow them to ask questions and raise concerns about what is happening.

Benedetti spoke about how the asbestos in Palisano needs to be properly removed before we can get contractors in there to work on the new project. 

He said that some programs that occasionally have classes in the Koessler Athletic Center, such as kinesiology or physical education, will hold them in Palisano instead when the center is finished. 

Benedetti said there will be a space for yoga and zumba that will have an entirely separate sound system from the one in the main section. In regards to other equipment in this facility, Benedetti said that some of the newer machines from the Koessler Athletic Center will be moved into this facility and that some mobile rowing machines will be brought in as well.

 As for other projects, the Demske field lights are being replaced with LEDs because they are brighter and more energy efficient, said Benedetti. 

After this brief update on these two big projects the senators were encouraged to ask questions. Sen. Boorum asked about the how the Canisius 150 initiative was going. 

Benedetti said nine donors have already committed, and they have bumped the goal of total donations up to 20 donors. 

Sen.Sommer asked about the parking garage. We just completed the yearly parking survey, said Benedetti, and the garage is structurally sound; however, there are chunks of extra plaster still raining down. He went on to explain that they went through in the summer and knocked down a lot of plaster already, but there is still some falling. He stressed that students shouldn’t be concerned about the well-being of the structure as it is sound but old. 

Sen. Brandel asked if the increased enrollment has inflated the college’s spending this year. Benedetti said no, because last year’s irregularly small class balances it out. 

Sen. Deacon asked how the partnership with Catholic Health is going. The agreement is going well, answered Benedetti. Many of the employees are Canisius Alumni and the workers use the food services and spend money on campus. Students have already gotten internships with them, which is very good, he said.

Sen.Garvey asked about the NFTA CRAM Passes and if the administration has any plans to get rid of them. Benedetti answered that the college will not be getting rid of the passes in the foreseeable future. 

Sen. Brown asked about the financial progress of the Palisano project and if it is on schedule. Benedetti said that the project is financially on schedule, with the final price at a total of around one million dollars.

Sen. Russo asked about the college’s financial goals for the future, to which Benedetti replied that there are a lot of academic program goals such as hiring new staff, finding space for new programs, and getting the proper equipment. Also, Benedetti said that the Canisius community wants to update the student center because we feel that the architecture is outdated. We plan to hopefully put something like Iggy’s into the west wing of the dining hall and add outdoor seating to the facility. 

Another goal is to finally complete the Science Hall Commons. Benedetti went on to mention that the college spends about $2.5 million per year to do maintenance and small fixes throughout the year because the college is pretty old.

Next on the agenda was the president’s report. Among other things, President Hughes said that their plans for a student pledge mural will instead be a framed plaque so that it can be moved and changed if needed. They are thinking of placing it outside of the library.

In the new business portion of the meeting there was a discussion about the constitutions of two different clubs. The first thing was that ENACTUS is collaborating with CEO, which has been added to their revised constitutions. 

The second constitutional change will be for the Residence Hall Association, who rewrote their constitution to say that both graduate and undergrad students can be on the e-board, and that you need to dorm here for at least two years to be on the e-board for the group. Some senators took issue with the latter change and the approval of the document has been tabled until further notice.

Then came the financial petitions for each club. The French Club asked for more money for food and supplies for meetings. Phi Alpha Theta asked for $50 for an event that they are planning. FUSION asked for $529 for food and prizes for the next Gaming After Dark. Psych Club asked for $193 for paintbrushes and other supplies for future events. Sigma Phi Epsilon asked for $2,567 for a camping trip as well as their yearly haunted house. Finally, Young Americans for Freedom asked for $260 for post-talk refreshments.

During open discussion, Sen. Brown raised his concern that there is no current international student representative. President Hughes said that she has reached out several times, but none of the international students are interested in filling the position.

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