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MUSC Student Government Association

August 28th Meeting Minutes



Old Business

Reading of the April 10th minutes:  Approved

New Business

Introduction of Executive Officers and Advisors:

Executive Officers and Committees:

President – Danny Vo

Academic VP – James Atkison

Communications VP – Kayla Hill

Programs VP – Stephen Thompson 

Service VP – Holly Berry


Willette Burnham – Advisor for SGA and the SGA President

Liz Sheridan – Service, MUSC Gives Back

Nadia Mariutto – housing, cultural events, activities fair, order food for meetings

Nancy Lemon – communications, broadcast emails

Kevin Smuniewski – social and recreational programming

 Dorothea Gadsden- fundraiser, Jostens, Jewelry sales, Books are Fun, commencement liaison

Introduction of SGA Representatives

SGA Retreat: Part I of the SGA retreat will be held on Wednesday, September 11th at 5:30pm in HSC204.  This business portion of the retreat will be held at the normal meeting time.  Committees will be decided at this meeting.  Part II of the SGA retreat will be held on Saturday, September 14th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.   We will meet at Waterfront Park for a scavenger hunt. Lunch will be served at noon.  The retreat is mandatory!

Budget 1st Read:

Kevin Smuniewski:  Notice under the SGA revenue section that we are working with less money this year, roughly $10,000 less than last year due to a 5% budget cut.

Willette Burnham:  Our MUSC SGA allocation is smaller because the allocations process has changed this year.  More of our activities fees are getting directed to academic/educational programs and activities within each college rather than to the SGA.  The money is still going to you as a student.  The budget review is one of the most important jobs you do as reps so give the first reading your attentive eye.  This is a lot of money to be in charge of.  Please take it seriously and voice your questions and concerns.  Don’t be afraid to be the lone voice. 

Danny Vo:  To balance out our cuts, ticket costs went up for the Back to School party. 

Philip Sobolesky:  Are the allocations divided evenly among colleges?

Willette Burnham:  Allocations by college are divided by enrollment based upon college size.  Currently, less than 30% of our funds come from state funding.  We are state-assisted rather than a state-funded University.


Sara Garrett:  What are Sled checks for temp ABL’s?

Kevin Smuniewski:  Sled checks are for police permits--beer and wine permit for parties, etc.

Jake Al Sarraf:  Are we doing the exact same events as last year?

Kevin Smuniewski:  Yes, we are pretty much doing most of the same events as last year.  If we are not doing an event, there will be a 0 in the budgeted column.  Bike Safety is an example of something new we didn’t do last year.  Since we have less money, we can only do so many new programs.

Michael Occhipinti:  I remember last year we were planning on trying to save money with badge clips.

Kevin Smuniewski:  We did save on badge clips.  We reduced the number of badge clips we purchased and we also found badge clips at a cheaper price.  We found some for 72 cents rather than $1. 

Michael Occhipinti:  $4500 is a lot to spend on food.

Kevin Smuniewski:  That is broken down to about $10 per person per meeting.  We also spend a little more on our holiday dinner. That is subject to change if you feel that way.  That is something to think about.

Michael Occhipinti:  It’s great to have food, but I feel like we could do dinner once a month or something.

Regina Brown:  Why does the student activities fair cost so much?

Kevin Smuniewski:  The major cost are the tent rentals. 

Nadia Mariutto:  We rent about 100 tables, 180 chairs, purchase table cloths and signage for each booth, but the tents are the  majority of the cost.

Steven Holshouser:  Can we have it at a different location where we don’t need tents?

Kevin Smuniewski:  We tried that last year, but the building managers weren’t cooperative.

Nadia Mariutto:  I don’t think there is anywhere indoors that would be large enough to have it.  We use the portico overhang so booths located there are not tented.  Anywhere outside we would have to tent everyone. 

Kevin Smuniewski:  We have really no large open/indoor space.

Layne Madden:  Do you have any particular areas of concerns or questions that you feel like we need to look over?

Holly Berry:  We adjusted the badge clips and also increased ticket costs.  Those changes got us where we needed to be.  We tried to keep the costs of events the same as last year. 

Stephen Thompson:  We are trying to diversify.  Our event budget went down and our service budget went up.  We cut most from the social budget.  It is important but the least important for our mission. 

Danny Vo:  We also cut cups and Koozies for Alhambra so that will save a lot of money.

Regina Brown:  Gluten free people are wondering if they could have options rather than beer at the events. Could there be a separate wristband for different beer trucks?

Kevin Smuniewski:  I would be interested in knowing how many people that affects.  That type of beer is expensive and only served in bottles and we don’t want glass bottles.  We saw some things being thrown around at the BTS party and we wouldn’t want glass being thrown around. 

Willette Burnham:  The numbers need to be justified to have something for gluten free students.

Danny Vo:  Can we have some bottles of wine?

Nadia Mariutto:  How do you prove that you are gluten free?

Michael Occhipinti:  Some people don’t like beer at all and they wish there was something else. 

Kevin Smuniewski:  Wine coolers might work because we want to avoid having anything with a high alcohol content.  We used to have wine coolers at Alhambra but the distributor stopped using plastic bottles.  This is something Stephen’s committee will be working on.

Danny Vo:  Does anyone else have any questions?  We will go over it again on the next meeting and vote. 

Instructional Technology and Faculty Resources (ITFR) Donation Drive:  The ITFR is collecting donations for the Low country Food Bank and United Way’s Day of Caring.  Collection bins are placed all throughout campus (Harborview office, library, BSB, cafeteria, wellness center, among others) to collect hygiene items, diapers, and non-perishable foods (i.e. tuna, peanut butter, canned fruits/vegetables, rice, oatmeal).  The collection ends on Thursday, September 12th.  For more information check out the following link:

Safety Walk:  We will have a Safety Walk around November after daylight savings time.  If you are interested in participating let me know.  There was a bicycle safety workshop that happened this week as well. 

Kevin Smuniewski:  The Bicycle Safety workshop was on Monday, and SGA actually contributed toward lunches.  There were 3 speakers:  a surgeon from trauma gave statistics about bicycle accidents, a public safety officer went over rules and regulations, and an EMS discussed how to properly fit a helmet.  I can see this happening again because it was a lot of good information.

Reps (2) to clean up after meeting:  Layne Madden and Michael Occhipinti


Old Business

Back to School Party Evaluation and Expense Report:  We had 1254 in attendance.  SGA budgeted for $16500 and our total expense was $16236.  We were under budget by $263

Sara Garrett:  If we have any events with cups or something can we have a recycle bin? 

Kevin Smuniewski:  The City of Charleston does not have recycling in these venues.  The cups we use are made from corn and they are more biodegradable.  That is what we decided to do until the city steps up.

Steven Holshouser:  Can we recycle it ourselves?

Kevin Smuniewski:  We can try. We also need to duct tape things better, I noticed people were tripping over cords.

Danny Vo:  Did everyone like the food and beer selection?

Regina Brown:  The food was good.

Toya Williams:  I liked the presentation of the food.

New Business

Rep Worker Requirements:  I sent out an email saying when the sign up is going to go live.  Did everyone like that?  I’ll either tell you at the meeting or Kayla will send an email out letting you know when the sign-up will go live each time.  Each rep is required to work 3 worker spots each semester.  One worker spot is usually 1 h.  Clean-up for our big events counts as 2 worker spots.  Alhambra is mandatory to work.

Chamber Music Charleston concert: Bring your lunch and enjoy a free concert on Thursday, August 29th at 12pm in the Colbert Library lobby.

Gabe Segarra:  How do you select music for that?  If someone wrote a piece could do they play it?

Nadia Mariutto:  That is supported by the President’s office.  We can talk afterwards.

MUSC Student Activities Fair:  The student activities fair will be on Wednesday, September 4th from 11:30am – 1:15pm at the Horseshoe area.  This is going to be a worker spot opportunity.  Sign-ups will go out tomorrow at 5pm.  SGA will be sponsoring a pour challenge at the event.  There will be a FREE iPad minidrawing for students and lots of technology vendors.  You can sign up for clubs you want to join. If you know someone who wants to be in the activities fair, we still have about 10 spots available.  Email Nadia before Friday.

MUSC Art Walk:  The MUSC Art Walk is on Friday, September 27th from 5pm – 8pm.  Appetizers and drinks will be provided.  When you send out an email to your colleges, let them know that there will be a drastic change this year for the Art Walk.  Since it’s been really overcrowded, we are controlling the amount of people that can attend this year.  You will need to pick up a wristband in the Student Programs Office prior to the event--2 wristbands per ID.   Show up to the event wearing your wristband to get access to all galleries.  Remember, this event is open to all employees.  Be sure to advertise this because the wristbands will go fast and we will not have wristbands at the actual event. 

Sara Garret:  how many wristbands will be available?

Nadia Mariutto:  1000

Danny Vo:  This also includes employees so make sure to get yours in advance.

Regina Brown:  When will the wristbands be available?

Stephen Thompson:  Either September 9th or 16th.

Nadia Mariutto:  Check your Student Broadcast email.

Michael Occhipinti:  Do you need a wristband if you are working the event?

Stephen Thompson:  You will be checking wristbands and you will receive yours. This is a trial run to see how well this works out.

Toya Williams:  2 wristbands include yours?

Stephen Thompson: yes

Leonardo Gonzalez:  Will there be security at each gallery to help prevent people who don’t have wristbands from coming in? 

Stephen Thompson: Yes, public safety will be there, not at each gallery but there should be enough.  There will be 1 public safety officer for every 2 galleries.

Willette Burnham:  The advisors will also be floating around so one of the advisors should be at a gallery most of the time.

Jewelry is Fun:  This fundraiser will be on Wednesday and Thursday, September 18th and 19th.  This year, fundraisers will be worker spot opportunities.  We will need reps to sign up for shifts between 9am – 4pm. 


New Business

Library update:  If you received a carrel this year you should have already been notified. There is a lottery system that is weighted by college.  There will be some that open up as the semester progresses. If you have any complaints about the library please let me know and I will address them.

Apple Tree Steering Committee:  This group is involved in educational electronic technology and would like student input.  The meetings are every other month at a time TBD to fit students’ schedules.  Two reps are needed. 

Layne Madden: This is a group of teachers, professors, and faculty members who get together once a month and plan a lot of sessions that are focused on supporting faculty and teachers on their ability to teach.  Your role as a student is to give them your perspective to tell them what you wish your professor knew. 

James Atkison:  We are asking for student volunteers to attend this once every other month meeting.  They will be on the 2nd Friday of each month.  Layne volunteered.   One other volunteer is needed.


New Business

Service Roles and Responsibilities:  Each rep is required to work 3 volunteer hours each semester of an MUSC SGA-sponsored event.  We will be using sign up genius this year, so there will be no more paper sign ups. 

Philip Sobolesky:  Can you adapt what Stephen is doing?

Holly Berry:  All of the service events for the fall semester are going to go out at one time.

Marsh Sweep on James Island:  On Saturday, September 21st, we will be meeting under the JI connector at the marshy area for a 3 h service event to clean up the marsh.


New Business

Rep responsibilities:  Just a reminder that one of your main responsibilities is to serve as a liaison between your classmates and the SGA.  Please bring any concerns or issues faced by your colleagues to the SGA meetings.  We also depend on the SGA reps to let their classmates know about the activities and events that have been planned and to encourage student participation.  Please pass along these announcements to your classmates.  The minutes from each of the meetings will be posted on the SGA website under the documents tab so feel free to use the minutes or the meeting agendas to send important information along to your classmates.  Also feel free to bring a laptop with you to the SGA meeting so that you don’t forget any information and you can send this information out almost immediately.  I will also be keeping the website updated with your worker spots and service hours so please check this regularly to keep track of your events and let me know if anything needs to be changed.  Currently, the website is up to date with worker spots from the BTS party.

College Reports:  This year we are asking that you provide your college reports to us in advance so that they may be included on the agenda.  Please send any reports to myself or by noon the Tuesday before the SGA meeting.

Communication suggestions:  If you have any suggestions on how to better on-campus communication, let me know!  Currently, we are using email, student broadcast messages, and posters to announce upcoming events. 

Intramurals:  Kevin Smuniewski

Flag football:  Captains’ meeting on August 29th at 5:15 in the HSC Auditorium. The season runs from September 8 – Novemeber 3.  Games will be at North Charleston High School from 1-7pm.

Kevin Smuniewski:  Since you all have had a chance to get some information about the expense report, do you have any questions?  The catering company we use are a local company and have been in business for 50 years. 

Regina Brown:  If you ever see those guys they are working their butts off.

Heather Spain:  What company is it?

Kevin Smuniewski:  Charleston Bay Gourmet

College and Organizational Reports

Student Programs – Willette Burnham: I am looking forward to working with all of you.  When you take on these worker spots, don’t drink while you are on duty.  One of the ways we pay you for your service is by providing you dinners,  but if you decide if there is something you want to cut I am open to that, but please let us know if there is anyway we can repay you.  Please let us know of college reports.  This is your time to tell us what you are doing.  If you go through the minutes from last year, it looks like nothing is going on in your colleges.  These are permanent records on the internet.  You do your peers a huge disservice if you don’t bring a report. Please take the time after the meeting to prepare your report for your peers.  Please tell your classmates what is going on in the monthly meetings.  We know that what you do is a huge service and we are here to serve you.  We are going to do a mid-year survey this year to improve the spring because what you think, feel and experience is very important to us. We appreciate all that you do.    I’m looking forward to a fabulous year and serving you. 


Graduate Studies

Health Professions- Deidre Tindal:  We are looking to put on an off campus Halloween party.

International Student Association – Jake Al Sarraf:  We are having a Welcome Back lunch this Friday in the HSC auditorium from 12-1pm.  Everyone is welcome.  Sometimes people bring food from their own country.  It is good way to mix in with international folks. 

Nadia Mariutto:  Do you need to rsvp?

Jake Al Sarraf:  no

Medicine – Katie Herbert: Oct 3rd CARES health fair

Multicultural Student Advisory Board

Nursing – Michael Occhipinti: We have a mentor/mentees Fuel get together coming up.  We have a lot of fundraisers coming up as well.

Toya Williams:  I took a disaster preparedness course in the old hospital and it was really creepy.  We thought it would be a good idea to have a Halloween party there.  Also, Susan G. Komen has its 20th year coming up on October 19th.  There are lots of volunteer spots.  I signed up for a spot.  I encourage us to get involved

Danny Vo:  It is nice to have collaborations between clubs.  If you feel like there are events that could benefit then talk about it. 


Nancy Lemon: Let your classmates know that if they are not listed in the handbook to email me at  If you send that out with your notice, that would be great. 


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