Members of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly on Monday night said the group’s proposed plan to spend more than half of this year’s budget supporting Anabel’s Grocery is an expense that will give the group oversight of the new grocery store and will provide an important service to Cornell students.
GPSA voted in 2016 to fund Anabel’s — a student-run organization that aims to address Cornell’s food insecurity — for a maximum of four years. This year, GPSA proposed spending $20,000 on the store, which would be 55.4 percent of GPSA’s 2017-18 budget.
“Some of the idea of funding them through our internal budget was to provide us the ability to provide … greater oversight,” said Tyler McCann, grad, the appropriations chair. “It’s not an insignificant amount of money that the GPSA decided to give, so we wanted to make sure that we retained the ability, if things went really sour, that the Assembly as a whole could decide to re-negotiate that.”
While the cost may seem large, McCann said he hopes educating graduate and professional students on Anabel’s relationship with the graduate students will alleviate concerns.
“I think when people see the $20,000, that’s a big shock,” he said. But McCann said that having Kerry Mullins ’18, co-director of Anabel’s at the meeting on Monday night and speaking about the relationship between Anabel’s and GPSA reduced members’ concerns.
Mullins said that “graduate students have a lot to gain from utilizing Anabel’s,” noting that graduate students often live off of campus and do not have meal plans and can stand to benefit from the cheap, healthy food that she said the store offers.
The GPSA’s next-highest expense in the 2017-18 budget, which was proposed on Monday night for discussion, is categorized as administrative costs and runs to $6,000 out of the group’s $36,100 budget for this academic year.
The meeting also included a report on a new initiative promoting a different GPSA-funded organization each week. This week’s featured organization will be the International Student Union, said Arianna Maria Gagnon, grad, vice president of communications for GPSA.
GPSA’s future meetings will address President Donald Trump’s recent decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, said Alex Loiben, grad, vice president of operations and staffing.
“There’s a lot of things happening right now, both on campus and in the political climate, that I think it makes sense for the graduate and professional students to address as a whole,” he said.
“The most obvious thing, recently, would be DACA and how it affects students, how we can protect the students that are affected, and ways that we can encourage the administration to put action to the words that they’ve said.”