SGA President discusses new budget

Q: What, if anything, has changed since last year….and what’s the reasoning for this?

A: We removed “Senior Awards” and allocated $1,000 to the “GU Press” and $1,000 to a new section entitled “Apparel.” Senior Awards in the past were to recognize senior representatives but have lost their merit over time. We often go over our GU Press budget, and decided to include more funding in this category. Apparel purchased by SGA is usually taken from student projects for bringing in students for SGA-sponsored events, but we now included a category to cover these expenses.

Q: I notice that the top five expenses for the 2013-2014 school year are as follows: Club Funding, Summer Session/Retreat, Exec Board Funding (Adding all the individual budgets together), GOLD Conference, Student Projects, and Unity Week (SP and UW are tied for fifth). What’s the reasoning for these being the “top financial priorities” of SGA for this year? Specifically, I understand the necessity for Club Funding (a major focus of SGA), but what about the others? Just to give you some background, together the top five expenses make up about 75% of the total SGA budget.
Club Funding merits the largest budget since this provides student-based organizations to succeed in leadership and service beyond their limited, respective budgets.
In order for SGA to succeed, it’s important that we function as a well-oiled machine. We utilize retreats to not only bring together our representatives, but to educate representatives on the various committees that we sit on and also how club funding is utilized. Having well-informed representatives is crucial in their level of involvement throughout the year.
Often people are surprised to hear the amount of effort that each Executive Board member puts into accomplishing their

constitutional responsibilities. On top of that, they have many events that need prioritized funding that we can’t wait to approve on a biweekly basis (general assemblies). For example, the GOLD Conference, an initiative to enhance leadership qualities of Gannon Students, is planned by our VP of C&O. Although we budget for many of the expenses (location, speaker, food, etc.), there always arises an expense that we can’t anticipate (travel fees for the speaker, certificates for participants, etc.). This applies to all Executive Board members and we allocate budgets in accordance to their constitutional responsibilities.
Overall, these are budgets that for almost the past decade (aside from UW and GF) have been finely-tuned to cover their demands. For example, at the end last term, we had emptied the club funding budget down to almost $0.00 while still providing funding for EVERY club. We try not to waste a single penny of the students’ money. In fact, the student projects fund has reached over $50,000 from budgets rolling over. Year after year, we save this money in order to fund a “big,” useful project for Gannon campus. We are hoping to utilize this budget during my term. It’s important, however, to get feedback from the students before we, as SGA, decide on allocating this large sum of money to one specific project.

Q: Do you think it’s fair that most of the student activity fee goes to APB? Could the money be put to better use by SGA?

A: I do not feel that the activity fee should be increased/reduced. We take into account the activity fee that schools similar to Gannon (size, tuition, etc.) charge their students. I believe our activity fee is fair.
The set percentage between APB and SGA has always been a touchy subject (I’m not sure if you were present for that GA last year). In the past, APB has defended their need for a larger percentage due to the expensive concerts that are held every few years. I do believe, however, that SGA’s percentage needs to be increased. SGA has a greater presence on campus (funding clubs, promoting leadership and unity, and taking on campus projects requested by the student body). I think anyone would argue that these initiatives warrant more funding than activities and a concert that occurs only every few years.

Q: How do you feel about the former president of SGA acting as an adviser to the organization? Do you think it’s a benefit or hindrance for someone who was so invested in the organization as a student to be helping oversee it now?

A: At first, I was terrified. Angela invested her life into this organization; naturally, she would have trouble distancing herself as an adviser. As a result, we’ve stepped on each others’ toes quite a few times. Over time, however, Angela and I have become very open with each other. As long as we continue to communicate and distinctively define our boundaries, I believe SGA will truly benefit with Angela’s advice.
She was also undoubtedly a “god-send” for administrators. There are very few administrators who haven’t worked with Angela and utilized her insight. I plan on working with her to improve my connection with administration in order to better act as a liaison for the student body.

Q: What are you most excited about for the coming year? What do you really want SGA to accomplish? If you could be remembered for one thing during your term, what would it be?

A: I’m pumped to get the students involved! Whether or not it’s college or high school, there always seems to be something “uncool” about getting involved. I seriously disagree. I want to be an example and evident leader on campus, promoting student involvement.
MICHAEL HAAS
[email protected]