The $326 Student Government Association fee, annually charged to all students, supports all student-related activities including trips, dances, events and clubs at Sierra Nevada College. Proceeds for the fee are administered by the SGA Executive Board, with this year’s total projected budget set at $173,482.74.
The Eagle’s Eye collected three years of budget data to investigate what students pay for and how SGA allocates the funds.
For 2012 -13, the largest expenditure was for three dances at a cost of $63,500. This includes a Halloween dance for $8,500, a fall formal for $25,000 and a spring formal for $30,000.
“I went to the Halloween dance, and had a lot of fun,” said Senior Molly Allen. “It’s good SGA supports such fun events.”
The next largest expenditure was for SGA board expenses at $22,364.38, followed by $17,200 spent on trips. The trips include ski days at Northstar, Sugar Bowl and Mammoth for a total of $5,400, a Six Flags visit that costs $3,000, and the Sierra Cloud catamaran for $6,000.
“I don’t attend any of the SGA events,” said Senior Kolina Coe. “I’ve been going to school here for seven semesters. I’ve spent about $2,000 on SGA, and have probably only used $20 of that. I’m here for an education, not for social events.”
The budget said the Mangent event cost $13,000 this semester, an increase of around $10,000. However, SGA officers reported that this was a mistake, as the event only cost $1,300. SGA Vice President Jake Denny said the $11,700 remaining can now be used for clubs.
SGA projected to spend $15,000 on clubs this year, and the SGA board will consider adding the $11,700. The budget shows that funds for student clubs have increased over the years. Money spent on clubs in 2010 – 11 was 2 percent of the total budget at $1,497.74. The money spent on clubs in 2012 – 13 was 9 percent of the budget at $15,000, meaning there was a 48 percent increase of funds used on clubs.
Denny said clubs this year don’t come to SGA enough asking for money. Dean of Students Will Hoida said SGA would love for any clubs to go to a professional conference in their field, and if they want to come and make a proposal for it he thought the board would be, “fired up about it”. He also said that if clubs requests are more than $15,000, than that would be fine. SGA holds their weekly meetings at 8:30 a.m. every Thursday, in the SGA office on first floor Prim Shultz.
“SGA usually helps us with NCECA (National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts conference), but we have to also put in our own funds,” said Clay Club Advisor Amanda Dabel. “It’s nice that SGA is there to help us, because it is expensive to go to a conference.”
Looking at three years worth of budget data, the SGA Executive Board’s expenses have increased from $10,606.67 in 2010-11, $6,000 in 2011-12, to the now projected $22,364.38 for 2012-13. Two budget items that have increased are stipends and conference fees.
Stipend fees listed in the budget go to support the seven SGA Executive Board members and provide incentives for them to do the job. Stipends increased this year, from $5,500 in 2011 – 12, to $10,000 year. The four senators split a stipend total of $800 per semester. The Potty Press receives a $400 annual stipend, with Director of Events Megan Williamson receiving $10 a week when she completes the Potty Press newsletter found in SNC bathrooms.
The budget shows that SGA is using $8,500 to fund a trip to the American Student Government Association Conference on Feb. 16 in New Orleans. SGA President Sabrina Belleci said that it would cost each member $1,100 to enter the conference. In the previous years SGA would go on retreats, spending $851.72 in 2010 – 11. Denny said they have decided to increase the funds this year so they can build their skills at the conference.
“SGA is finally catching up,” said Hoida. “(SGA is) doing the right thing and becoming a part of a professional organization here in the country. For going to a conference and using the fund money, we should be commending this board for being professionals.”
The rest of the SGA board expenses are used to purchase name-tags, T-shirts and apparel.
The student fee was $200 in 2010 – 11, and increased 61 percent to the now $326 student fee. Belleci said that the student fee is increasing so that SGA can provide for the growing student population. She said they have no control in what the student budget price will be, and that a committee decides on it.
The budget shows that $34,175.21 was unspent after the 2011 -12 school year. Denny said $20,000 of the remaining total was used to purchase last year’s senior gift; a large marble sign for SNC on Highway 28. With the senior gift, it means that $14,175 still remained at the end of the school year.
SNC Controller Lynda Odell said money not spent at the end of the year rolls over into a reserve account that only SGA can touch. Belleci said she had never heard about the reserve account. Denny said in the SGA constitution it states they have to spend down to $5,000 by the end of the semester.
In the beginning of the year, SGA does not know the total amount of student fees it will have. The board members create a projected budget, recording what they think everything for the school year will end up costing. When they receive the actual student budget, they use the projected budget as a guideline as to what they should spend. The actual budget that SGA receives depends on the final number of enrolled students.
SGA holds its weekly meetings at 8:30 a.m. every Thursday, in the SGA office on first floor Prim Shultz. All of SGA’s agendas are posted on www.sierranevada.edu/SGA.