SGA is now in charge of $30,000 that was given to them through the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) to allocate funding to student organizations. This year SGA wanted to make sure each organization received the same amount of money and that the VSU student bodies needs are heard.[Commentary]
With these new changes in place, I’m hopeful for a better understanding between SGA and student organizations around campus. There have been concerns questioning where SGA stands in helping the student body; however, this change may be one for the best.
Comptroller, Mathew Rowe, and vice president of Student Affairs, Dr. Vincent Miller, explained why SGA is now in charge of the account.
“There was previously an allocation process which took place each Spring semester,” Dr. Miller said. “This was the only time fee requests were considered for the upcoming year. Many organizations did not know about the process or were not able to get access to the funds. This new process allows for student organizations and individuals to apply for funding year-around when it’s needed.”
According to Rowe, this is the first year Dr. Miller has allocated SGA an allotment of money so that they can get that money out to student organizations in hopes of better student involvement.
“It’s a new process to provide student activity fee funds to student organizations and individuals,” Dr. Miller said. “The University System of Georgia policy states SGA representatives are involved in the distribution of student activity fees.”
Since it is university policy, having SGA allocate student funds to the student’s only makes sense. With so many student organizations and SGA being the voice for the students, they should be the main source students go to in order to help with anything students may need, such as cookouts, conferences, travels, tailgates and membership intake events.
Many student organizations like Collegiate Women of VSU and NAACP feel indifferent about it, being that SGA was the final say in whether or not the student offices were to be kept or not. They feel as though SGA handling the funds will be another way they will be rejected and ignored. Many don’t see how things could get better because they feel it should not be in the hands of peers.
I understand where both organizations are coming from; however, many organizations last year could have used the extra money but had no clue the account existed. SGA is making it known that they are handling the accounts now, and they will be splitting the funds equally for all student organizations that request the money.
With multiple campus organizations, SGA wants to make sure the organizations that apply receive some of the allotted money from the $30,000 account.
Maya Mapp, president of SGA, clarified how funding will be allocated and various requirements those organizations have to meet. These guidelines can be found here.
“No one will be denied as long as you follow the guidelines upfront,” Mapp said.
The University System of Georgia policy defines how student activity fees can be spent. SGA wants to be sure the funds will support as many organizations and individuals as possible, so a funding cap was decided on how much per semester one group could get. This was modeled after a similar process at UGA.
There will be a link available in the next couple of weeks for the student organizations to fill out. After the form is completed, it will be sent to Rowe for approval and then will be discussed by SGA finance chamber head, Clinesha Sims.
After the funding form is submitted and reviewed, the president and treasurer for that organization will present why they need the allotted money.
The process for applying for the Blazer allocation fund may seem extensive; however, I feel this is a sure way to ensure the money is split fairly. If certain requirements were not made, money could be easily split between the organizations that followed the rules.
“Every organization can be allotted up to $500 per semester,” Mapp said. “You can literally come to SGA 10 times. As long as you don’t go over that $500, you’re good.”
Student organizations had a lot to say about SGA handling the Blazer allocation fund. They compared the funding as a relationship between a parent and a child. Before, money was allocated differently. Organizations have to ask permission for a certain amount of money, and SGA decides if their reason is valid or not.
In my opinion, SGA allocating the money is a sure way every student organization has the opportunity to receive equal amounts of funding, so there is no favoritism. The money is for the students, so this new system is to make sure that every organization and member will be taken care of if needed. If things weren’t working out the first time and changes are now being made, don’t knock it until you try it.
“This is students helping students at the end of the day,” Sylandi Brown, secretary of SGA, said. “We want every student and organization to be successful on this campus no matter what financial difficulty they may have.”
With SGA allocating these new funds, there is a variety of expectations that have to be met by these organizations; however, setting aside $15,000 a semester for student organizations is a plan I can support.
Overall, SGA is excited not only for the financial side of things but with everything that will transpire this year. The old SGA is out the door, and this new team is ready for business.
Story and photo by Taylor Sutherland, Staff Writer.
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