SGA approves next year’s SFB budget

Jon Borst, executive director of the Student Finance Board (SFB), presented the 2007-2008 SFB budget to senators and members of the executive board at the April 18 meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA). Borst outlined several minor changes that were made to the budget.

Borst said there “weren’t any substantial changes (to the SFB budget) this year.” He said the conference line of the budget was reduced to $7,000 from $10,000 to emphasize campus- based activities for student clubs and organizations.

Borst added that the lecture series line of the budget had been combined with the special appropriations line. He said this had been done with the intent of creating a “large-scale” lecture series in the future that would bring academic speakers to the College. The Passport to Programming budgetary line was increased from $3,000 to $5,000. Borst said this change was made to better train leaders of student organizations. Borst also noted the $24,700 increase to the Celebration of the Arts budgetary line, which is used to bring performers and artists, such as George Carlin, to the College.

“It’s always been successful,” Borst said. “(These events) have been sold out for the past two years.” SGA approved the budget with a unanimous vote.

Early in the week of April 16, students at the College received a campus-wide e-mail with an attached draft of the tentative final exam policy. Steve Link, recently re-elected vice president of Academic Affairs, encouraged SGA members and students to attend an open forum on the policy draft, held on April 20.

The proposed policy, if adopted, would serve to standardize the exam policy. Under the policy, exams would “count (for) at least 15 percent but may not count for more than 50 percent toward the student’s final grade for (a) course.” Additionally, “students (would) not be expected to take more than two final exams on a given day,” according to the draft. Other stipulations include types of final evaluations, administration times of in-class exams and due dates for projects unassociated with final evaluations.

The student organization Amistad was awarded official club status by SGA. Members of Amistad described the organization as a mentorship program for urban high school students. Through their interaction with these students, members of Amistad work to demonstrate the benefits of a college education to students who may have never considered higher education.

DeWarren Register, sophomore accounting major and member of Amistad, read a letter from a high school student who had gone through the mentoring program. The student expressed her newfound desire to go to college.

“Most of (these students) have changed their views about college and who they want to be when they grow up,” Register said. Amistad has brought students from Trenton High School to campus. During visits to the College, the high school students of the Amistad program are given dinner in the Eickhoff dining hall, are assisted with their homework in the library and participate in various social events and workshops.

The student conservationist organization Roots and Shoots was also given official club status. Roots and Shoots is affiliated with the Jane Goodall Institute and has adopted “care and concern for all living things and the environment they live in” as its mission statement. Representatives from the organization said they would participate in the Revert the Earth Campaign, raise money for Tanzanian tree nurseries and construct a nature trail around one of the College’s lakes.

Dan Beckelman, vice president of Administration and Finance, questioned the need for another environmentally-oriented club. “I cannot fathom the possibility that they cannot combine with another organization that does what they do,” Beckelman said. “I don’t understand why they need to be a separate club.” Representatives from the club said the club must remain independent to maintain its international status. The club was approved with only Beckelman’s vote in dissention.

SGA also awarded club status to Cheerleading and the Political Science club.

Meagan Terry, dining services liaison, clarified information regarding dining vendor proposals at the College. Presently, Sodexho’s contract with the College is set to expire in June 2008. The College is seeking contractor bids from companies to satisfy its dining requirements. Sodexho is not excluded from making a bid for the new contract and may be utilized again.

The SGA meeting was marked by numerous goodbyes, as graduating senior members made parting remarks to their newly elected successors. Daria Silvestro, graduating student trustee, was presented the Blue and Gold Award by Jim Norfleet, vice president of Student Life. “It is not just rhetoric when we say that (Silvestro) exemplifies what it means to be a TCNJ Lion,” Norfleet said.

“For you as freshmen that are just joining (SGA), take as much as you can from it,” Silvestro advised. “Thank you so much for helping make me who I am.”