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ISSUE 119 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/2/2005

Cuts take toll

By Lauren Radomski
News Editor


Friday, December 2, 2005

After last year’s unseen budget surplus, Student Government Association (SGA) is beginning to feel the constraints of its 2003-2004 budget cut. Although the cut has resulted in slightly diminished funding, SGA is attempting to continue the programs, activities and events valued most by students.

According to SGA Vice President Rachel Erickson ’06, SGA decided to take a voluntary budget cut of 10 percent, or $50,000, during the 2003-2004 school year. This decision was made in response to the financial challenges the college was facing at the time.

Because of an unexpected budget surplus last year, this is the first year that the cut is taking full effect. SGA is responding to the cut with "a conservative spending stance on things," Erickson said.

One of the priorities in this year’s budget is the continuation of the Collegiate Readership Program, which supplies the campus with daily copies of The New York Times, USA Today and the Star Tribune.

When SGA began the program last year, "we knew at the time that we didn’t have money to pay for it in future years," said Shannon Bifulk ’06, SGA financial officer. However, because the program experienced "much better turnout than we had ever anticipated," Bifulk said, SGA has organized the budget to make the program a higher priority.

SGA has also submitted a proposal to receive greater funding from the college. Funding for SGA comes in the form of the Campus Activity Programming (CAP) fee.

In order to sponsor activities and events without charging admission, SGA receives a CAP fee of $153 from the tuition of every student. SGA has proposed an increase of $18 in the CAP fee.

This does not mean that tuition will increase because of the fee, but that the college will allot a greater amount of tuition money to SGA.

Funds for capital improvements are used to fix campus services enjoyed by a majority of students, such as the soft serve ice cream machine in the Pause. SGA funding also goes toward speakers, campus publications and stipends for SGA members.

A buffer fund of $1500 provides a safety net in case of any budget shortfalls. After all of these pre-budget expenses have been set aside, the remaining money is distributed among campus organizations.

According to Maggie Snetting ’06, Student Organizations Committee coordinator, SGA has been more conservative with funds. Snetting and a group of 12 committee members review the itemized budget proposals of the student organizations requesting funds.

"We weigh the organization, knowing their needs and how they serve the community," Snetting said. She estimates that the Student Organizations Committee has 65 percent of its budget remaining for the rest of the school year.

The Student Activities Committee (SAC) is one of the organizations that is making efficient use of its reduced funding, because SAC has about $18,000 less than last year. “We have just had to be more creative with our money,” said SAC Coordinator Nicole Strenglis ‘07. For example, rather than hiring costly performance groups for Week One events, SAC found a campus group, the Stanley Brothers, that was willing to perform for free.

Both Snetting and Erickson emphasized the importance of using all of the money in the SGA budget.

"We’re in a position to spend all of our money by the end of the year, which is a good thing," Erickson said. Because the funding for this year’s budget comes from the tuition of current students, "We want to spend every penny," Snetting said.

According to SGA Vice President Rachel Erickson ’06, SGA decided to take a voluntary budget cut of 10 percent, or $50,000, during the 2003-2004 school year. This decision was made in response to the financial challenges the college was facing at the time.

Because of an unexpected budget surplus last year, this is the first year that the cut is taking full effect. SGA is responding to the cut with "a conservative spending stance on things," Erickson said.

One of the priorities in this year’s budget is the continuation of the Collegiate Readership Program, which supplies the campus with daily copies of The New York Times, USA Today and the Star Tribune.

When SGA began the program last year, "we knew at the time that we didn’t have money to pay for it in future years," said Shannon Bifulk ’06, SGA financial officer. However, because the program experienced "much better turnout than we had ever anticipated," Bifulk said, SGA has organized the budget to make the program a higher priority.

SGA has also submitted a proposal to receive greater funding from the college. Funding for SGA comes in the form of the Campus Activity Programming (CAP) fee.

In order to sponsor activities and events without charging admission, SGA receives a CAP fee of $153 from the tuition of every student. SGA has proposed an increase of $18 in the CAP fee.

This does not mean that tuition will increase because of the fee, but that the college will allot a greater amount of tuition money to SGA.

Funds for capital improvements are used to fix campus services enjoyed by a majority of students, such as the soft serve ice cream machine in the Pause. SGA funding also goes toward speakers, campus publications and stipends for SGA members.

A buffer fund of $1500 provides a safety net in case of any budget shortfalls. After all of these pre-budget expenses have been set aside, the remaining money is distributed among campus organizations.

According to Maggie Snetting ’06, Student Organizations Committee coordinator, SGA has been more conservative with funds. Snetting and a group of 12 committee members review the itemized budget proposals of the student organizations requesting funds.

"We weigh the organization, knowing their needs and how they serve the community," Snetting said. She estimates that the Student Organizations Committee has 65 percent of its budget remaining for the rest of the school year.

The Student Activities Committee (SAC) is one of the organizations that is making efficient use of its reduced funding, because SAC has about $18,000 less than last year. “We have just had to be more creative with our money,” said SAC Coordinator Nicole Strenglis ‘07. For example, rather than hiring costly performance groups for Week One events, SAC found a campus group, the Stanley Brothers, that was willing to perform for free.

Both Snetting and Erickson emphasized the importance of using all of the money in the SGA budget.

"We’re in a position to spend all of our money by the end of the year, which is a good thing," Erickson said. Because the funding for this year’s budget comes from the tuition of current students, "We want to spend every penny," Snetting said.





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