By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief
Student Government Association President Alondra Valle said that SGA is getting to work on passing several bills now that student allocations, which partially come from student fees and which the body uses to fund various clubs and initiatives around campus, are set to come in at the end of the month.
While FAFSA for next year has been delayed until December, Valle, a junior, said that SGA has been told to begin passing bills. Student allocations come from the previous year’s FAFSA, so receiving this year’s allocations shouldn’t be affected, Valle said.
It is normal for SGA to have to wait until October to get money from student fees, but she said voting last year to foot the majority of the bill for the new security cameras on campus had SGA sitting at a negative balance before the school year even started.
However, extra money was found after SGA realized it had not needed the entire amount outlined in the bill it passed last year to bankroll the security cameras. Now, Valle said, SGA is using that extra money to begin passing bills while waiting for the allocations.
In the past, SGA has funded several student life events across campus, but Valle said she is hoping that SGA can start creating and hosting its own events. The first event senators are planning is bubble soccer, a contact-heavy game where people put on large bubble suits and play soccer. The event will happen on Oct. 26 outside of the Beata residence hall.
“If it’s successful, we hope to start hosting more events,” Valle said.
Valle said that she doesn’t want SGA to just be a “money tree” for other groups on campus but a group that actively tries to better campus life.
Fall Formal will also be making a return this year and will be on Nov. 4. The Campus Activities Board, which Valle said is fully staffed this year, will be planning the event with some financial assistance from SGA. There will be food, music and photo booths, similar to what students saw last year.
One project that Valle has been working on is replacing the furniture in the Fugate Student Center, which she said is old and breaking down. Valle said that since most departments are having to reduce their budgets, they would not be able to help pay to replace it.
“But SGA has a budget, and we have money to spend,” Valle said. “Obviously it shouldn’t be us who is sponsoring it, but it has to be done. I feel our students deserve it.”
The price tag to replace the furniture is $20,000, Valle said, because SGA wants to buy furniture intended to last for years. She said the senate is hesitant because some members feel that the project should not be funded by SGA and that it is a lot of money to spend without having the student allocations yet.
“My personal goal is to get that fixed eventually, even if it is one-third or two-thirds, but obviously it’s not a high priority because we don’t have allocations,” Valle said.
Valle also wants to make some changes to the SGA constitution to facilitate quicker decision making along with making certain bylaws, such as the club's criteria, clearer for students and SGA members alike. She also said she has plans to add a few more chairs to SGA, particularly an athletics, a fine arts and a Catholic mission chair.
“I’m very happy with our senate. We have 19 senators…so I’m very excited that we have a large senate, and I’m excited for what we can get accomplished this year,” Valle said.
The newest senators, elected last month, are freshmen Grace Long, Melissa Arguijo, Tryphosa Kayode, Maxwell Masem, Gabriel Trevino, Deqlon Mitchel, Tryphena Kayode, Ryleigh Schmidt, and Parker Hurla. Junior Emily Pachta was also voted to fill the Personal Relations chair this year.
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash