SGA budget takes a $20,000 hit


Michelle Sawyers

Nasser Abdel-Fatah

As the 2013-2014 academic year begins, money is on the minds of nearly everyone, including Student Government Association (SGA) President Nasser Abdel-Fatah. Between this year and last, the SGA budget decreased by $20,000. Such decreases affect not only the SGA, but the various other organizations and campus initiatives supported by the SGA, which is why this situation merits the attention of the student body.

Organizations supported by the SGA include WJSC, Basement Medicine, and club sports. The SGA also allots funds to support official clubs, the literary magazine, the Casino Night fundraiser event, the ALLY Dinner, and the class gift. Additional money is placed into a scholarship fund for Johnson students as well as mini grants. For those who are not aware, mini grants can be awarded to students as a means to fund an educational experience outside the scope of their classes such as attending conferences.

The budget is one of the first tasks tackled by the SGA members each year. The current president creates a budget and awaits approval from the SGA senators who vote on the matter. This year’s budget was approved at the first SGA meeting of the fall semester, Wed., Sept. 4.

Of the $40,000, $2,000 is going to the scholarship fund, $4,000 to mini grants, and $2,000 to club funds for the year.

“Our budgets reflect the students who are here,” said Abdel-Fatah. The money comes from every student who pays the college’s student activity fee. Facing these varying budget difficulties, Abdel-Fatah stated the SGA’s only choice is to “make it work.”

They are not alone.

Budget cuts are affecting departments across campus as many are forced to do more with less and less.

Some may notice that the New York Times is no longer free to students and faculty.

During summer training, the SGA voted to end the subscription, in part due to budget concerns. The stacks of newspapers cost $6,000 a year, and internet-subscription options were just as costly.

Moreover, the SGA saw a lack of student interest. “Most concerns about the paper were coming from faculty, not students,” said Abdel-Fatah. Since its funds are for addressing students’ needs, the SGA determined that dropping the New York Times was an appropriate decision.

Despite the challenges of working with limited resources, Abdel-Fatah is optimistic. “This is definitely a different SGA,” he said. This year the SGA has operated from the start with a full senate, some of whom are returning for second terms, which last one year. Every senator already has a project in the works. Moreover, the SGA Office will be open Monday to Friday, 8-4:30 p.m. with members ready to address student needs.

Abdel-Fatah had this message for students: Get involved. “Don’t settle for a ‘No,’ get the Why,” he said.

Among all the cutbacks and limited resources on campus, according to Abdel-Fatah, the SGA is a resource for students to find answers and make changes. Students who are interested can stop by the office in Stearns or attend the public meetings which are Wednesdays, 7 Dewey 1867.