SGA Legislation provides biology students with updated lab equipment


Graphic by Jade Williams

A motion to purchase new pipettes for the Nicholls Department of Biological Sciences was recently passed by the Student Government Association (SGA), allocating $7,000 to the project.

A junior biology major from Chauvin, Heather Lebeouf, is a senator-at-large in SGA. Lebeouf wrote and presented the bill at an SGA meeting a few weeks ago, and it has since been passed and the pipettes have been purchased.

Lebeouf said that the idea for the bill originally began as a concern that the biology department needed more microscopes. She saw a need for microscopes because she had taken a biology lab at another university, where each student had their own microscope, which she said was much more beneficial.

She began speaking with the administrators of the biology department about SGA purchasing new microscopes, but shortly after, she realized that the cost of microscopes was simply unrealistic at the time. However, it caused her to begin to consider what other ways SGA would be able to help out and improve classroom experiences, specifically in the biology department.

Lebeouf said she realized that there were not enough pipettes being used in the biology lab classes, which could cause issues with lab results. Christie Landry, an assistant professor in the biological sciences department, wrote a letter to SGA senators detailing issues that the lack of pipettes could cause for students.

“Enrollment in these labs is limited by the number of sets of pipettors, as students have to share the sets,” Landry said in her letter. “In addition to enrollment limitations, having to share pipettes across multiple groups can lead to issues with contamination, which can cause experiments to fail.”

Lebeouf presented the letter and concept at an SGA meeting, and the motion to buy new pipettes was figuratively, “left on the table,” until the following week. This was intended to give senators time to determine if the bill should be passed since it was a more expensive bill.

In the week in between, Lebeouf spoke to biology classes about the bill to ensure that it was something the students were in support of. She said that she didn’t want to spend $7,000 of student money on something they don’t find beneficial, but she was met with overwhelming student support.

“I didn’t want people to just see that we’re spending money but not know where their money is going,” Leboeuf said.

At the next meeting, the legislation was eventually passed, allocating $7,000 to go towards the purchase of new pipettes for the biology labs, which are expected to last the students over ten years. The money was taken from SGA’s campus improvements budget.