Michaela Brew / Sun Senior Editor

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly heard updates about Anabel’s Grocery at its Monday meeting.

October 18, 2016

GPSA Evaluates Anabel’s Grocery, Revisions to Funding Procedures

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Members of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly heard a presentation from the directors of Anabel’s Grocery and voted to change the Finance Commission’s funding guidelines at its meeting Monday.

The directors of Anabel’s Grocery discussed plans to “formalize a relationship” with the GPSA by establishing liaisons in the group, as they have already done with the Student Assembly, according to co-director Lizzi Gorman ’18.

The GPSA allocated $20,000 of its budget to Anabel’s Grocery at its Sept. 13 meeting, The Sun previously reported. Gorman said this allocation will be primarily used to cover construction costs, as estimated bids are more costly than their project manager had originally projected.

“We hope to allocate that $20,000 with GPSA input in the upcoming years,” Gorman said.

The directors also described their business model and goals for pricing the products sold in the grocery.

“Our goal is to be able to have food that is significantly cheaper than the current Greenstar and 7-11 options in Collegetown and be closer to the larger grocery stores in Ithaca,” said Adam Shelepak ’18, another co-director of the project. “Then hopefully with the subsidies, those prices will be closer to a wholesaler or an Aldi-type price.”

These subsidies would be available to undergraduate and graduate students who “demonstrate a certain level of need, based on USDA metrics and metrics we’re developing with people on our advisory board to determine the need,” Shelepak said.

Shelepak also responded to questions raised by members of the GPSA about why the $20,000 allocation should be invested in Anabel’s Grocery, rather than simply spent on giving food to needy students.

“If you make this investment, this is going to be a longer-term solution than just a $20,000 in-kind transfer of food,” he explained.

Shelepak also stressed that Anabel’s Grocery is “not necessarily the solution to food insecurity across college campuses.”

“We think that this model is going to provide one outlet for lower-cost successful food on campus that is sustainable economically,” he said.

The assembly also passed a resolution to revise the Finance Commission’s guidelines, changing the procedures for receiving funding from the GPSA. According to the resolution, the current funding model for organizations on campus is inefficient, particularly due to the complex application process.

“The main goal for this revision process is to simplify the application process to streamline the review process, so that the organizations have more freedom,” said Hoang Long Nguyen grad, Chair of Funding Guidelines Revision Subcommittee.

Nguyen noted that the current funding process favors academic programs over social or sport-related programs and events.

“Specific funding for those types of events is significantly much less than academic program events,” he said. “If you want to host a speaker, you can get around $1000 for that event. But for a sports event, you have $500. For a social, you have $300 per year, which is quite limited.”

The revised funding guidelines creates a tier system for graduate and professional student organizations by categorizing them into specific funding hierarchies, according to the resolution. The tiers would indicate the upper limit of funds an organization is eligible to receive.

“A lot of concern right now is how the tier is allocated for the very first year,” Nguyen said. “We’re going to be reviewing the historical spending of all the current organizations on campus, so that we can more efficiently allocate what tier each group should be in.”

Jeremy Thomas, senior director of Cornell Real Estate, also presented at the meeting, updating members on the construction of Maplewood Apartments. Thomas urged members to attend a public hearing for the town of Ithaca about this project tomorrow night at 7 p.m.