USG discusses spring agenda in first senate meeting

Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government discussed club budgets and upcoming events in their first senate meeting of the Spring semester on Feb. 2.

One upcoming event USG has prepared for is the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislatives, Inc. 45th Annual Legislative Conference. The conference will be held in Albany from Feb. 12-14. It will consist of many receptions, workshops and meetings for student representatives and state and city legislators.

According to a statement on their website, the NYSABPRL’s goal is to “promote the common good, social and general welfare of the community; foster and maintain an interest in racial tolerance in the world; to encourage the development of the community and promote economic growth.”

This year, 18 Baruch students will join a few members of USG, the University Student Senate and other CUNY student governments on a trip to Albany to discuss CUNY student issues, such as the pending continuation of the Rational Tuition Plan, the DREAM Act and other matters with legislators.

Daniel Dornbaum, Baruch USG’s vice president of legislative affairs and USS alternate, will be in attendance at the NYSABPRL Legislative Conference.

“We’ll be meeting with the speaker of the New York State Assembly, Carl Heastie, we’ll also be meeting with assembly member J. Gary Pretlow. So we have appointments to meet with them and their staffers,” explained Dornbaum.

The conference starts with an opening reception from Michele R. Titus, the NYSABPRL chairperson, and a breakfast with Thomas DiNapoli, New York state comptroller, according to the schedule posted on the conference website.

“A large portion of the day are these individual break out rooms where legislators come, and they speak for a few minutes; there are other speakers, and you learn all sorts of different things,” said Dornbaum.

“It’s neat to have students go to different workshops, we don’t have to stay as a group at that point so students get to feel out things that they’re interested in.”

Dornbaum states that he is most excited to meet with Heastie. “Being in the same room as the speaker is always awesome, so having even a few minutes of his time is great.”

Heastie has an MBA in finance from Baruch. Dornbaum says he is most excited to “pick his brain about all sorts of issues that students are interested in,”

“He’s been an ally of CUNY, and now that he’s one of three men in the room, it gives us a powerful ally, which is always good.”

Although sign-ups are closed for the NYSBPRL Legislative Conference, Baruch students have the chance to join USG and USS on a day trip up to Albany for the Annual Higher Education Action Day.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, USS, along with New York Public Interest Research Group, the Professional Staff Congress and other groups, will be taking students for free to meet with local legislators about student issues. Eight buses will be leaving that morning from different areas around the five boroughs to bring to the event.

“We’re up there, there’s a rally and hopefully you get face time with legislators. It’s a great environment. Students from all around the state will be coming to have their voices heard,” explained Dornbaum.

Registration for the event is still open and available on the USS website. “Right now, nobody wants to go, it’s a Thursday. There are classes and nobody wants to miss class,” admitted Dornbaum. “I think it’s a great opportunity for students to be a part of the legislative process and I hope that more students will sign up.”