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The Iowa State GPSS met virtually Monday night and discussed multiple items on the agenda, including reallocating funds for a family-friendly Parks Library room. 

The Iowa State Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) met Monday evening to discuss reallocating funds to the Parks Library for a family-friendly room initiative, among other matters.

Senate Bill SU21-01 will reallocate funds from the GPSS Fall Graduate Student Social to finish funding equipment for a family-friendly room in Parks Library. 

The room will include a computer and associated equipment for an early learning station. The GPSS Executive Council had previously pledged $1,500 and the Iowa State Daily pledged $500. 

The remaining $805.50 will come from the GPSS Fall Social account. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GPSS was unable to host a fall social this year and the $2,000 associated with the account had been unspent. 

The meeting opened with a call to order and amendments to the agenda, of which there were none. 

Director of Outreach for Student Government Eliana Crabb then spoke about the elections for Student Government and the difficulties of getting GPSS members to run for one of the two GPSS seats in Student Government. 

Crabb gave an overview of the Student Government, including the structure of the government and the obligations of a member. She then provided some guidance for those looking to potentially fill a GPSS seat.

The next portion of the meeting was the executive reports to the Senate. Each executive council member provided a short update on their current and future actions within GPSS. 

President Eleanor Field began by updating the GPSS on a 2020 child care task force she had participated in

The task force recommended more child-friendly spaces on campus and more options for parents enrolled in school while also caring for children. 

One of the responses to this, Field said, is the family-friendly space in Parks Library. 

Field also presented an update on Iowa State’s plans for a winter session next year, citing an Inside Iowa State article from Feb. 18.  The calendar proposal has not been finalized but the university will be requesting this from the Iowa Board of Regents. 

After all executive reports, Vice President Carrie Ann Johnson then opened the floor to a discussion over Senate Bill SU21-01. During the discussion, Sens. Allison Durazzi and Bailey Goff opted to sponsor the bill. 

One question posed was what exactly makes the Parks Library space family friendly. Johnson described the future room as a room that only people with a code can access. Students with children would be able to utilize the room on a schedule. Children would be able to make noise and play games on the computer while the parent works. 

“This would help parents be a part of the campus community in a way parents can’t be if they have to have their children with them,” Johnson said. 

Another question asked was how well this room will fill the needs of parents trying to learn on campus. Senate Engagement Officer Chelsea Iennarella-Servantez presented several statistics for students who are parents. 

“They are statistically more likely to leave without a college degree,” she said. “A lot of this goes back to financial issues in terms of child care.” 

The meeting then moved into a roll call vote over SU21-01, which passed 47-1. After a brief Senate forum in which senators presented questions they had to executive officers, there was a call to close and the meeting was adjourned. 

An agenda of Monday’s meeting is available on the GPSS website at https://www.gpss.iastate.edu/senate/meetings.

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