By Sebastian Moronta, SGA Correspondent
This week, the SGA voted to welcome four new student representatives: Pearl Dorothy Amonu McCarthy, Liny Karine Kenmoe, Bryan Nju-Ghong, and Matthew Jackson, to the senate body.
Members deliberated over new goals to pursue during the remainder of Spring semester including more community service involvement, fundraising for student orgs by working the concession stands at Gillette, connecting more with constituencies, and bringing more administrators to school events. The UMassD Disc Golf Club was voted on and approved.
Several comments in the constituency roundtable were directed at Campus and dining service, namely that some students would like a food cart at the STAR store in New Bedford, some asked for a microwave to be available after hours in cart areas, and some complained about the 2p.m. to 5p.m. lapse in food service on weekends apart from Wendy’s which does not accept meal swipes. Campus services responded by saying that hours of operation are largely decided by the rates at which students buy meal plans, but will take the comments into consideration.
One comment during the roundtable drew a hearty laugh, while getting to a crucial issue that affects every student on campus. In the first and second year of housing developments on campus, toilet paper is provided, while in junior and senior spaces, students must find it for themselves. While they acknowledged that upperclassman areas are more personal and have more of an “on your own” feel, some students want the same treatment the younger students get in their bathrooms.
For this week’s spotlight, The Torch sat down with senior student representative Fatima Fraga, an operations management and MIS double major. Fatima sits on the Finance Committee, which has some turbulent times ahead of them as SFP’s (“student funded programs,” or requests for funding from student organizations) pile up on a dwindling budget. Of the $90,000 dollars allocated for student events and projects, only ~$16,000 remain, and student orgs are planning a lot of events for the spring.
Fatima has become frustrated at the indiscretion with which the body has spent money this year and explained a few reasons the account got to this point. First and foremost, the student fee (which all students pay to fund the SFP account) hasn’t been raised in several years, while more and more students form their own organizations and request for money for their events. Even if the fee were raised, however, that wouldn’t entirely solve the issue.
Some organizations tend to ask for and receive more funds than others, and many often rely entirely on the SGA to fund their events. In general, student orgs are encouraged to fundraise and find funding from multiple sources in addition to coming to SGA, but many don’t even make the attempt before requesting a lump sum through an SFP.
To better distribute funds, Fatima and the Finance Committee have discussed placing a cap on the amount of money a student org can request in a single SFP, whether it be as a percentage of the remaining funds, or a flat cap. They’ve also considered reforming the SFP application to require a more accurate detailing of how the funds are to be used, to ensure orgs are requesting appropriate amounts. Fatima recognizes that arguing for fiscal responsibility is an uphill battle in the student senate, but she’s determined to help improve the system in any way she can, as she set out to do when she joined the SGA two years ago.