Student Government Approves Kwanzaa Funding

The Kwanzaa Celebration Dinner, which will cap off the annual weeklong Kwanzaa Celebration, was approved for funding by Student Government, Inc. at their meeting held Monday in the UC.

SGI allocated nearly $1,700 to the event, which will be held Nov. 23 in Council Hall.

Ryan Stewart was on hand to promote the dinner on behalf of the N.A.A.C.P., which sponsors the festivities.

“The whole reason for this Kwanzaa dinner is to really bring unity throughout the St. John’s community,” he said. “Not only to the St. John’s community, but throughout Queens.”

The N.A.A.C.P. plans to reach out beyond campus borders to the local surrounding areas as well as to the student body.

“We’re going to be sending invitations to other schools so they can come and join in the celebration,” Stewart said. “We’re also having elected officials and national members from the N.A.A.C.P. to come through for this event.”

The funds provided by SGI will cover the costs of food, decorations, Kwanzaa giveaways, and other expenses.

“That particular night, we’re going to have, hopefully, a political figure to be our key note note speaker,” Stewart said.

“For the last three or four years, the N.A.A.C.P. has been holding this event,” he said. “We have had separate budgets for it, but unfortunately we have been cut. So that’s why we’re coming to you.”

N.A.A.C.P. fund-raisers will help cover the costs of the additional events scheduled throughout Kwanzaa Celebration Week, which begins Nov. 18.

Also during the meeting, SGI approved funding for an Evangelist Meeting sponsored by the Chinese Christian Fellowship and for organizational participation in several conventions held around the east coast.

Rev. Wai-Leuh Kwong will be speaking to the Fellowship on Nov. 22 in Marillac Terrace at 5 p.m. Kwong is a graduate from the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and pastor of the Queens Herald Church, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and has been ministering in the areas of campus ministry and adult education.

Fraternity president of Phi Delta Psi, Ato Joseph, and member Duane Cornish were present to appeal SGI’s decision to reduce the number of participants attending the Black Leadership Conference in Richmond, Va. from four to two, which was the ruling made at the last meeting held Oct. 21.

Budget Committee chair Andrew Jarrett read a letter presented on behalf of the fraternity, explaining why the decision was being appealed.

“This conference, and others like it, offer members a priceless opportunity to interact not only with members of their fellow St. John’s community, but allows us a rare chance to meet with members and counterparts from several different colleges and universities across the United States,” the letter read. “As we will bring there our own ideas, we anticipate returning with a renewed sense of political self-improvement through the leadership and organizational skills that we will gain from the workshop.”

Cornish added that since no one will be attending the same workshops at the same time, each member will take something different from their experiences. This can in turn be brought back to the fraternity in a more thorough manner.

“One reason why we decided to appeal the process was [that] we felt that two members limited our potential to take from the Black Leadership Conference,” Cornish said. “We’re sending our four [executive] board members…and this is important to us because this is our growth; this is our central system.”

Student Government decided that all four members of the Phi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc. would be able to attend.

In total, $4,106.32 was allocated to various organizations. The balance in the Special Opportunities Fund for the 2002-2003 academic year now stands at $90,980.07.