Fisher releases proposed budget

MELISSA IANNUZZI | ASST. NEWS EDITOR

Butler University’s Student Government Association set a target maximum budget for the 2013-2014 academic year.

SGA’s proposed budget is  slightly more than $763,000, according to documents from Craig Fisher, SGA president.

SGA’s approved budget last academic year was just more than $748,000, according to The Collegian’s “SGA assembly approves largest budget in organization history” (Sept. 26, 2012).

SGA’s transportation budget will decrease because of a new, less-expensive contract with a different shuttle service. However, every other SGA board’s budget will increase if the proposed budget passes.

A rise is expected in the available money for the budget this year because three of Butler’s largest-ever classes are currently enrolled and paying activity fees, Fisher said.

Butler students currently pay $288 per year in student activity fees. $189.20 of each student’s fee goes to SGA, according to Butler’s website.

The most significant change in this year’s proposed budget is the increase in funds for general-purpose grants from $36,000 to $50,000.

“Our grant money is designed to provide programming to all of campus,” Fisher said.

The largest portion of SGA’s proposed budget goes into programming, including Coffeehouse  Concerts, Butlerpalooza and Dance Marathon.  This year’s proposed allotment for programs, approximately $391,000, is up from last year’s by almost 5 percent.

The proposed budget for this academic year will be presented at the first SGA meeting Sept. 11, and voted on at the following meeting, Sept. 18.

SGA’s plans for the year involve more than just passing a budget, however.

Fisher said the association will focus more on creating greater transparency, specifically concerning how students’ money is used, than in years past.

“I don’t really know what the money is directly being used for,” senior Ari Kasle said. “(The student activity fee) seems like a lot of money for not a lot of bang for your buck.”

Ellen Larson, SGA’s vice president of public relations, said the main goal for her board this year is transparency. She said the public relations board is thinking of adding a blog along with its current social media platforms.

“We want to give students an inside look at what we spend money on,” Larson said. “It’s an easier way to give news and information to students.”

Up until now, the public relations board has only done promotions through smaller social media platforms. Larson said the blog would be a good way to provide more information to students.

“Transparency is going to create a conversation so we can get students’ opinions on things,” she said.

In an additional effort to create further transparency, SGA will send updates to students via Moodle, so representatives can access topics of concerns, meeting minutes and other discussions held in assembly.

“If there was a rundown, I know that not just myself but a lot of students would be interested to know what this group of individuals is doing for (students),” Kasle said.

Fisher will also replace traditional office hours with “Coffee with Craig,” a different hour announced each week when he will be available in Starbucks to meet with students.

“I’ll buy anyone coffee and talk about whatever they want to talk about with regard to campus concerns, SGA operations or even Butler basketball,” he said.

Fisher and other members of SGA are currently involved on different subcommittees on Butler’s Board of Trustees to represent student interests.

Fisher said SGA is focused on making sure students’ voices are heard while campus expands and changes. New academic and residential buildings and parking discussions amongs the Board of Trustees have all had SGA representatives involved throughout.

“The administration does understand how important it is to have students involved in these conversations,” Fisher said.

Outside the idea of transparency, SGA also intends to employ new software to track attendance at all its events.

“Programming is SGA’s commitment to providing students opportunities to enjoy things they otherwise wouldn’t,” Fisher said.

This year’s fall concert, the annual Butlerpalooza—will feature rapper B.O.B. SGA will pay for the higher-budget artist by taking money out of the spring concert budget, Fisher said.

During summer executive and SGA retreats, discussions were had about how to improve SGA’s public relations hot to and use the Council for Presidential Affairs to gather input from the student body.

 

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