SA Senate OKs Bangladesh organization


Christine Wang (right), SA Senate Speaker-elect, addresses senators as SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke looks on at the SA Senate meeting Sunday. The SA approved of the Bangladesh Student Association and the full-time addition of the position director of Environmental Affairs, which is currently held by Stuart Nissenbaum.

By Alex Chettiath

DeKalb | The Student Association Senate unanimously approved the creation of the Bangladesh Student Association.

The objective of the organization is to promote the culture of Bangladesh and diversity on campus and to provide assistance to current and prospective Bangladesh students. This includes helping students get settled at NIU with housing and class arrangements, said Jarin Tasnim, treasurer of the Bangladesh Student Association, at a SA Senate meeting Sunday.

The organization currently has about 35 to 50 members made up of undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members, Tasnim said.

“I would say in the last five to 10 years, there were probably two to three Bangladeshi students, but suddenly if you look at the last two years, there has been a growth of more than 200 percent, suddenly there is about 50 to 60 students,” said Rafi Hossain, vice president of the Bangladesh Student Association. “So those students need a platform to be represented.”

Hossain said he expects about four to five graduate students to join every year. In fall 2010, four students came from Bangladesh and in 2015, that enrollment grew to 10 students, according to NIU Institutional Research.

The Bangladesh Student Association will celebrate International Mother Language Day on Feb. 21, Bangladeshi Independence Day on March 26, Bengali New Year on April 14 and Victory Day on Dec. 16.

Full-time environmental director

The SA director of Environmental Affairs position was approved unanimously to become a full-time position.

The position was created to coordinate environmental service projects, collaborate with university environmental groups for programming as well as hold a minimum of one sustainability workshop per semester. The Senate approved the creation of the director of Environmental Affairs cabinet position at a meeting on Oct. 18.

Stuart Nissenbaum was approved as the first director of Environmental Affairs on Dec. 6.

All directors in the president’s cabinet are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week, with the exception of the director of Environmental Affairs who was given 10 for a trial run, said SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke.

Domke said that with directors getting paid $9.50 per hour, they can receive a maximum of about $7,500 before taxes.

“Obviously [Nissenbaum] has been working full-time,” said Christine Wang, SA Senate Speaker-elect. “I’ve been doing the executive review and he’s been working overtime… at least now so he can receive some of that before he graduates.”

Combining director positions

A bill to combine the director of Advertising and director of Public Affairs positions into one position was postponed until the next Senate meeting on April 24.

The director of Advertising is responsible for coordinating the overall marketing and advertisement priorities of the SA and the director of Public Affairs is responsible for communicating, on behalf of SA, to the students of NIU and ascertaining the concerns of the campus community.

Domke said many of the responsibilities overlapped and could be done by one person.

Concerns from senators included finding candidates for the new position with experience in business, marketing and public affairs and the extent of their day-to-day responsibilities.

The bill was pushed with the recommendation that the current holders of these positions address the Senate on Sunday.