Student government funding slashed

By Lianna Hubbard

Student Government Association’s budget was cut by around 75% this year, forcing them to miss out on some trips and change clubs’ funding.

“[SGA had] around $80,000. Now its $20,000,” said Tiffany Leung, SGA vice president. “It is really different this year.”

SGA proposes and funds student amenities, like the ping-pong table in the S-Building, the recycling bins in U-Building, and the new charging stations around campus.

They also preside over the Campus Activities Board and student clubs and donate to other community organizations.

These Student Government cuts come from a greater budget issue in Student Engagement.

“Right around July 1, the start of the fiscal year, we were getting everything set up and we noticed certain funds weren’t there,” said Sholondo Campbell, director of Student Engagement. “It was much of a shock to us. There was never a formal communication made out before [July 1].”

These missing funds were in the accounts for SGA. Student Engagement had to absorb these operating costs into their own budget, effectively cutting it by 30%, according to Campbell.

“So, all of SGA’s costs need to be absorbed by Student Engagement’s budget, which wasn’t that big to begin with,” said Campbell. “Student Engagement is now funding all of SGA’s activities.”

Student Engagement had to find a way to absorb SGA’s usual $80,000 expenses before the school year began, in a little more than a month.

To make up for the strain on their budget, Student Engagement had to make some cuts, like those to SGA.

SGA senators went to around four conferences around the state last year.

“The thing about these conferences is, it creates turnover. It inspires people to continue [with SGA],” said Leung. “Without that inspiration it’s hard to sustain.”

SGA’s largest conference, the State Legislative Conference, lands in November this year. For years FSW’s SGA attended this conference to take workshops with SGA’s around the state and meet with Florida legislatures in Tallahassee.

“Normally we bring people on all these conferences. Because of the cuts, we can’t afford to bring as many,” said Leung.

“We go to other state colleges around Florida [for the conferences] and learn about how they run their SGA. It’s basically training,” said Fleener Cophy, a SGA senator of three semesters and FSW Compass opinion writer.

Along with cutting down on conferences, Student Engagement is saving money by changing the way FSW’s 59 student clubs are funded.

Before this change, when a club was created, they automatically received $500 for a year of their operation. If they ran out of funding before the year was up, clubs could appeal for more through CAB.

Starting this semester, clubs must apply for their budget through SGA with a detailed outline for how they will spend the cash along with any plans to fundraise. They have a $500 cap on their initial fund.

The extra funding CAB gave out has been cut. Clubs can fundraise for more money if needed.

Student Engagement is working to keep these clubs and SGA operating with the money they have.

“If we are going to have a vibrant student life, we need more fiscal resources,” Campbell said.

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