SGA continues to balance needs of students against available funds

In today’s times, one would be hard pressed to find a situation where fiscal responsibility isn’t one of the main points discussed. Entities ranging from business to government to academia are feeling the pinch of a lagging economy and are faced with difficult decisions on what to cut and what to maintain to ensure their respective operations are able to survive. This effect has made its way to SGA where we are faced with these same issues and elected and charged to make some of these same decisions.
Recently, to address fiscal responsibility across all aspects of our governance, I established an ad-hoc committee chaired by the Graduate Vice President of Internal Affairs Michael Ellis to examine various aspects of our fiscal nature and to look into ways that both graduate and undergraduate SGA can exhibit the highest levels of fiscal responsibility. This committee will consist of various members of GSS and UHR along with any member of the student body who would like to participate.
Simply put, SGA is a massive operation with a budget of $4.8 million, coming from the collection of the Student Activity Fee, which is allocated to over 300 different student organizations, campus facilities and campus initiatives throughout any given year. Recently in some research for a separate topic, I looked through the operations of how other SGAs within the University System of Georgia work and much to my surprise other SGAs have much less control concerning how their fees are allocated and work with significantly smaller budgets, often times not being able to deliver the same student experience that we have at Tech. From this, having the student body entrust SGA with the allocation of the Student Activity Fee is a major responsibility and one that every member within SGA takes seriously and with honor.
Within all of this, questions often arise from SGA and student body members including: “Where does my money go?”, “Should we fund this allocation?” or “Will we run out of money before the end of the year?”. These questions lie at the heart of the reason as to why the ad-hoc committee was created and for that matter lie at the heart of any debate concerning the spending of public money.
The motivation establishing this new push within SGA has always existed yet in the past has not been the center issue in almost every debate. These sentiments and this motivation are not surprising since they are the same core issues that face the nation on an everyday occurrence. What cannot happen is a situation where the idea of saving money dominates the debate while valuable programs, ideas and initiatives that may need generous support might fall to the wayside thus jeopardizing the optimal student experience that we strive to create.
As the SGA legislative session continues, one of the most challenging tasks, as has been a challenge for SGAs of the past, will be to determine when we put resources behind something regardless of the size of the request. The delicate balance of being fiscally conservative while at the same time exercising some liberalism in funding campus activities is difficult to achieve and will prove to be a mighty task for all of SGA. From all of the issues presented, the purpose of this committee will not be a catch-all to fix every problem or to answer the limited questions posed earlier but rather will act as a step in the right direction and will bring the importance of fiscal responsibility to center stage.
One of the greatest things SGA owes to student body is determining the answers and practical solutions to the fiscal questions posed and applying them to our everyday operations. The marks left from these economic times and the atmosphere of cutting and conserving will dictate how we as a society function. SGA must find a balance between conserving enough while at the same time funding important initiatives for the benefit of the community thus continuing to make Tech a great place to be.


Comments are closed.