Congress Updates

by The Cowl Editor on February 11, 2021

Congress Updates

by Margaret Mahoney ’21

Student Congress Representative

John Sweeney, chief financial officer of Providence College, came to the Student Congress meeting on Feb. 2. Sweeney provided an overview of COVID-19’s impact on PC’s expenses and revenue, stating that PC has spent $12 million on COVID-19 testing, quarantine protocol, meals, staff, technology, physical changes, and cleaning. After giving an overview of the College’s financial outlook, Sweeney also answered a series of questions from Student Congress members. 

When asked about the College’s financial health in light of COVID-19-related expenses, Sweeney said that the College has made cuts to expenses and that PC is investing in energy efficiency, which will save the College money in the future. Sweeney also remarked on the success of the free textbook program that began this fall and said the program has become a model for other schools. 

When asked about financial aid, Sweeney answered that PC increased financial aid by about $9 million this year and that the College currently meets about 89% of demonstrated need. Sweeney also addressed the security challenges of student organizations using electronic payment platforms like Venmo, but he said that they are looking for a way to accommodate electronic payments. 

When asked about upcoming projects, Sweeney said he anticipates that the Ruane Friar Development Center project will begin in May 2022. Sweeney also said that COVID-19-related expenses vary significantly between institutions depending on the aggressiveness of the program. COVID-19 prevention requires more ventilation, heating, and cooling, but associated costs with such increases are necessary for the safety of everyone at PC. Looking into the future, Sweeney anticipates that in three years, 80% of PC’s energy usage will be offset by solar power. 

Student Congress thanks John Sweeney for coming to their meeting and for all he does for PC students. Following Sweeney’s presentation, the Fashion Society presented to Student Congress and were approved as an official club by Student Congress. 

For students interested in joining Student Congress, they will be in attendance at the Involvement Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the upper Slavin lobby.