The 47th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a bill yesterday evening to fund the Lunar New Year Banquet as a part of Chinese Cultural Week.

College junior and SGA Executive Assistant Justin Nie presented the bill, which called for $4,400 total in funding for both the Jan. 31 banquet and the Atlanta Spring Festival Gala, which took place on Jan. 25.

Vice President for Finance and College senior Calvin Lee reported that the bill passed the finance committee unanimously, which he said is rare.

“This is a large-scale event that is co-sponsored by several graduate and undergraduate organizations,” Lee said. “This level of cooperation is unprecedented.”

Several SGA legislators took issue with $400 in funding for the Gala, citing a rule prohibiting retroactive funding for events.

College sophomore and SGA Representative-At-Large Raj Tilwa raised concern over the $400 and how it would be spent considering that the event already occurred.

College sophomore and SGA Sophomore Representative Ami Fields-Meyer proposed an amendment to strike the $400 in funding that was retroactive. The legislature voted unanimously in favor of the amendment on a 24-0-0 decision.

Laney Graduate School Representative Laura Mariani proposed an amendment to shift the $400 to the Sino-Emory Newsletter’s (SEN) account to help alleviate their payment toward the Lunar Banquet. The legislature approved the amendment on a 14-4-3 decision.

The updated bill passed 20-0-1.

Nie said he was excited for the cultural week and hopes that SGA funding for this year will help the event grow in years to come.

“Next year, we want to institutionalize it, along with other cultural celebrations such as Diwali,” Nie said. “We want to do our part to make the campus more vibrant with culture.”

–By Stephen Fowler