SG backs $20 SAF increase, bigger budget for SFB

Student Government approved the Student Finance Board’s FY2012 budget during last week’s SG meeting, held at the Trenton State House. (Photo courtesy of CJ Gutch)

The Student Government voted last Wednesday to support a $20 increase in the Student Activity Fee (SAF) proposed by the Student Finance Board. SG also supported a $90,000 increase in two existing SFB budget lines and the establishment of a $30,000 budget line to fund class-council sponsored events. These changes would tack $124,600 onto SFB’s tentative operating budget of $1,500,400 for fiscal year 2012.

SFB gave a short presentation outlining the proposed changes during last week’s SG general body meeting, which was held at the Trenton State House. Executive director of SFB Brad Van Arnum began by discussing the SAF increase.

“The increase would bring the (SAF) from $235 to $262, after the inflationary increase,” said Van Arnum, senior economics major. “This would ensure that we have the same level of programming next year that we did this year.”

According to Van Arnum, $15 of the additional $20 SFB requested will go toward funding an outdoor carnival next year, similar to this year’s “fun.ival,” planned for Friday, April 29. SFB hopes to partner with the College Union Board and SG yearly to hold the carnival, which Van Arnum  said he hopes will become a “legacy event.”

“The remaining $5 will be to establish a new line in our budget specifically for class councils,” Van Arnum said. “Our current involvement with class councils is we match the money they raise during fundraisers … This would allow them to approach us with programming ideas.”

According to Van  Arnum, the money would be funneled into the Special Appropriations budget line, which funds the vast majority of club-sponsored events, and the High Volume budget line, which funds concerts, comedy shows and similar events expected to draw large crowds. SFB plans to draw funding for next year’s carnival from the High Volume budget line.

SG members spoke out overwhelmingly in support of SFB’s proposed budget.

“I would definitely say yes to the SFB budget and SAF increase. This increase will allow us to continue programming,” said senior psychology and women’s and gender studies double major Lynette Barnes.

“The carnival hasn’t happened yet, but it looks promising. Since my sophomore year we’ve really been trying to get that off the ground.”

Senior accounting major Anthony Czajkowski, vice president of administration and finance, supported the increase for the first time in his tenure with SG.

“I’ve never supported an SAF increase … There was never a clear focus. It was always just, ‘We want more programming.’ They have a very specific (plan) this year,” said Czajkowski, who also serves as the SG representative to SFB. “As far as the $15 increase going toward the legacy event … I’ve seen the Special Apps funds run down to zero. It’s smart to funnel this money into that.”

Some students dissented. Sophomore mathematics elementary education major Karyn Unger questioned SFB’s decision to allot $30,000 to fund events for class councils.

“I think it’s a great idea to give money to class councils … but I think it’s a lot of money to give class councils right off the bat. I think if we’re going to be allocating this money, it should be a bit smaller,” Unger said.

SG recommended both the SAF increase and SFB’s budget to pass by a unanimous vote.

SG also eliminated the cabinet position of Class Council Coordinator during last week’s meeting.

“Right now, since we’re integrating advisors with our class councils, the role of class council coordinator is being absorbed into those positions,” said class council coordinator and senior English major Arielle Simonis.

SG passed a bill to eliminate the cabinet position.

Emily Brill can be reached at brill3@tcnj.edu.