SGA approves first contingency fund request of year, hears from African American sorority

The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate approved its first contingency fund request of the year and welcomed a presentation from Alpha Kappa Alpha at its second meeting of the semester on Tuesday.

Modeling org gets over $2,500

The SGA unanimously approved a $2,520 contingency fund request from Esteem Models, an on-campus student-run organization intended to showcase and enhance the talents of its 20 members. Senior Kyana Jones, Esteem Models’ vice president, represented the organization.

“Our motto is to slay, serve and succeed,” Jones said.

The funding will go toward the organization’s Era of Esteem Show, which will take place Sept. 30 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Festival Grand Ballroom. Jones said the show — showcasing its members as models strutting a catwalk — is one of many events sponsored by Esteem Models, which will also support two to three other modeling shows, bake sales, and self-care and confidence workshops, Jones said, in addition to collaborations with off-campus organizations at Virginia Tech and in Washington, D.C., respectively.

“We want to get our name out there, and we want to collaborate with anyone who wants to get to know us as a team,” Jones said.

Jones said Esteem Models will use the money to fund catering, photography, makeup artists and other supplies needed to make Era of Esteem a reality.

“We are sure that we’ll be raising money for our organization,” Jones said. “But just to get us off the ground, we need the help of contingency.”

The funds will supplement the organization’s $15 member dues and $273 fundraised from its bake sale last semester, Jones said.

“I think that they represent the school well and are definitely involved in a lot of other things,” said senator Zach Fox, a junior and member of the SGA’s finance committee.

Alpha Kappa Alpha: empowerment and engagement 

Senior Kianna Butts, president of the Lambda Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, advertised the predominantly African American sorority’s upcoming events, which include Black Girls Rock, an awards ceremony and celebration of women of color previously financed by the SGA

To this end, Butts said she hoped to spread awareness of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s mission statement of empowering women in both education and society during her presentation to the SGA. 

The organization is composed of just five members but aims to service JMU and the Harrisonburg community in an effort to uphold their 45-year legacy as the oldest African American Greek letter sorority.

“We may be small, but we are mighty,” Butts said.

The sorority can be seen participating in mobile clothing drives sponsored by Vertical Connections, packaging meals for families on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and at Skyline Middle School aiding in English-learning classes.

“Service to all mankind is one of the biggest pillars that we like to live by,” Butts said. 

Junior Takiyah Monrose-Richardson, the SGA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility (DEIJA) chair, spoke to the character of the club and its leadership, stating, “Kianna, the president, she’s my close friend.” Their relationship is what initially drew Monrose-Richarson to spotlight the sorority during SGA meetings in order to open doors to contingency funding and exposure to the community.

Additionally, Monrose-Richardson emphasized the importance of club engagement with the SGA to earn funding, an ongoing responsibility of theirs.

“I feel like being DEIJA chair is a very special space,” Monrose-Richardson said. “It’s one of the newer positions, and I feel like I get the rare opportunity to, like, really go out to these places … I am here for you, I want to help you with whatever you want to do in your [organizations].” 

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