Senate talks retention, approves financial requests

At SGA’s March 24 meeting, students spoke with Peter Fowler, the assistant provost for retention at Suffolk, as well as voted on two finance initiatives.

Fowler explained the meaning of his job title to SGA, and presented his plans to collaborate with students to help improve retention across the university. 

According to Fowler, the current retention rate at Suffolk hovers between 73 and 76%. As part of the Suffolk 2025 plan, the goal is to increase retention to 83%, something Flower believes can be done. Retention is based on the number of students that return for their sophomore year.

“Suffolk 2025 plan does have explicit goals around retention to get to that 83% mark,” he said.

Fowler explained that he will present to the provost on Aug. 1 with a retention plan after gathering input from across the university.

When asked by SGA why retention is an issue, Fowler said that across college campuses, there are issues with mental health and a sense of belonging. He also cited location and cost as an issue specific to Suffolk.

Ben Issac, Class of 2022, asked SGA for $6,000 to host a workshop on the Win Hoff method. The cost would cover the instructor as well as any materials needed. 

The event is still being considered by risk management, and according to Issac, Counseling, Health, and Wellness has some concerns about participants voluntarily holding their breath for an extended period of time, as the workshop would require. All participants would sign a waiver, Issac said.

Issac also explained that he is creating a documentary about Suffolk students learning the method and hopes the event could be held annually at Suffolk. 

The senate voted 30 – 0 in favor of the event, with five abstentions.

Program Council presented with President Lauren Frost and Sammy Todaro, vice president of finance and administration. PC asked for $7,200 for the club’s annual Spring Ball event. Sammy explained that the Halloween Bash had to be moved to February due to COVID-19, so the event became Winter Bash. There were extra expenses to host Halloween-themed events in October in place of the bash, so the budget worked out differently than normal, according to PC. 

PC allotted $21,000, with the venue and food costing $19,000. In 2019, PC spent $30,000 on the event. The extra money would include things such as a photo booth, lighting and a chosen DJ. Sammy explained that without the extra money, the event would still be able to be put on, but it would be less of an experience.

The senate voted in favor of awarding PC the money with 19 senators in favor, four opposed, and 11 abstentions. 

SGA will meet again Thursday during activities in Sargent 385.