Student Government Association senators approved the budgets for Fiscal Year 2016 for their own organization, SUAB, Hilltop, The Gatepost and WDJM at the annual budget meeting on Friday, Feb. 27.
SUAB’s budget request of $167,453 was cut by $4,100. Events that had budget cuts were Homecoming, the NYC Bus Trip, the “Large Performer,” the Semi-Formal Dance and Welcome Week.
The Welcome Week budget was cut by $1,500. This amount rolled over from what was left over in SUAB’s current budget.
It is “disappointing they made some cuts. But we will make do with the amount given,” said Riley Fallon, president of SUAB. “It won’t impede how we plan in the future.”
Of the amount SUAB requested, $41,578 is dedicated to the annual “Large Performer.” Money to rent walkie-talkies and stanchions were cut out of the budget because SGA has taken funds out of its own budget to buy them.
Fallon said the co-chairs of the concert committee, Danae Pieroni and Madison Alper, choose the performer. The performer will be selected mid-April, said Pieroni.
Pieroni and Alper reach out to students through Facebook, student email and surveys to determine what genre of music students are most interested in, said Fallon.
Last year SUAB sold 230 tickets for the We The Kings concert. This year, the group has sold only 200 tickets to the Jana Kramer concert. However, SUAB hoped to sell more the following week.
To help sell tickets, SGA senators suggested increasing promotion to raise students’ awareness of the event.
SUAB was allocated $3,000 for it’s Night of Hope event, a fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund including T-shirts, catering and decorations for the event. According to Fallon, “The event last year only raised $1,000.”
The amount of money SUAB spends on T-shirts alone is over $6,000 compared to the $1,500 that other organizations such as Hilltop Players, The Gatepost and WDJM spend on promotion and marketing items.
Allison Carroll, treasurer of SUAB, said that T-shirts are a way to “drive attendance.”
Student Trustee Brandon Martinez proposed that SUAB create a T-shirt with all events on the back to cut budget costs.
In response to Martinez, Carroll said, “It would be too busy.”
Semi was the most debated event of the night concerning SUAB. SGA was split when it came to cutting the budget.
SGA senators argued that using WDJM would be free and therefore more cost-effective than a DJ.
“The scale of the event requires a more professional DJ,” said Fallon. “A student DJ will diminish the atmosphere.”
SGA senator Cameron Zamagni said it would be “unfair not to explore student DJs.”
SGA eventually cut the budget by $1,000.
SUAB proposed a new event, Sam the Ram’s Birthday, costing $6,000. The event was held once before, but is now officially added into the budget for fiscal year of 2016.
The purpose of the event is to build Ram pride and increase FSU spirit, Fallon said. The event includes a performer, novelty items and catering. Fallon said that SUAB’s goal is “to have as much campus outreach as possible.”
The Hilltop Players requested a budget of $17,500 for fiscal year 2016. The budget includes money for the five shows it puts on during the fall and spring semesters, musicians as well as any other yearly expenses.
“We asked for $3,000 more than last year. It is appropriate for what we need,” said Geoffrey Ducharme, president of Hilltop.
Hilltop performs two shows each semester – a minor show and a headliner. There is more student involvement in the spring because most freshmen are hesitant to join in the fall, said Ducharme.
“We usually have somewhere around 150 to 200 attendees at our performances,” he added.
Included in the increased budget are more elaborate costumes and an advance for the accompanists. Hilltop tries to get musicians around and on campus if possible, said Ducharme.
“But in some cases, we have to hire out to fill voids of some instruments,” he added.
Hilltop Players added one new event to their budget, a co-sponsorship with the new FSU theater department. They will work collaboratively to put on one show a year.
“We hope it is long-standing,” said Ducharme.
Although being a participant in the event will count toward class credit, any FSU student is allowed to be involved, said Ducharme.
SGA Senators expressed concern about the possible conflict between Hilltop and the new theater department. Ducharme said a conflict between the two is extremely unlikely because they share Communication Arts Professor Sarah Cole as an advisor.
The Gatepost requested $36,695 for fiscal year 2016. A total of $23,208 was allocated for printing costs over the next year, yet SGA was able to provide an additional $1,160.40 to the printing budget, allotting a total of $24,368.40.
Gatepost Editor-in-Chief Kaila Braley said she is glad SGA is supportive.
“We are here to inform and communicate with the student body. Printing is the most important part of our budget,” she said.
SGA Senator Sarah Cowdell pushed for more emphasis of the digital copy of the newspaper to reduce printing costs.
Braley refuted the suggestion, saying, “We stay relevant because we can stay in print.
“We get more feedback from the paper than online,” she said. The physical copy is hung on campus bulletin boards, highlighting articles and photos that correspond with departments, Braley added.
The Gatepost requested $7,140 that will be dedicated to a new administrative assistant.
Student Involvement and Leadership Development has helped the upper management of The Gatepost to find a new administrative assistant, the selected administrative assistant.
She will work a few hours, multiple times a week, said Braley. “A lot of the work is correspondence, general office management and archiving.”
The Gatepost requested $600 for puzzle membership. SGA senators suggested that the Gatepost utilize Puzzle Club instead of getting puzzles from outside sources, subsequently saving money.
“It is hard to ignore the convenience of something that is there,” said Braley. However, people in the club may have other commitments and because The Gatepost is deadline every Thursday it would be an opportunity for problems to arise, she added.
“We are always excited to start new ideas. For example, working with WDJM and SGA to create a live broadcast of articles,” said Braley.
She added that the Puzzle Club is fairly new and The Gatepost is not sure if Puzzle Club members will want to make The Gatepost puzzles or even have the time to do so.
The Gatepost also requested $300 for web fees and an additional $280 for Earthlink, the website that currently houses old archives. The plan is to rebuild the Gatepost website by retrieving the archives from Earthlink and safely moving them to the new domain.
“Once we have secured old archives, we will cancel Earthlink,” said Braley.
WDJM requested $10,427 for fiscal year 2016. The budget will be dedicated to bringing more attention to the radio station, and funding events, promotional items, licensing and fees mandatory to operate the radio station.
The radio engineer’s payroll was $3,162 of the requested budget, a three percent increase from last year. He hadn’t received a raise in 20 years, said WDJM General Manager Nick Quaglia.
“Nobody told us we had the power to give him a raise,” he added.
The remaining funds are allocated for the Monster Mash Halloween dance and WDJM Hoedown. Both event budgets were increased since last year. More money will go to prizes and candy for the Monster Mash Halloween dance. Quaglia said this year, “We want the good stuff.”
The fairly new event, WDJM Hoedown, which was first hosted last year, will be expanded come April 22, 2015. WDJM Secretary Brianna Araya said the station plans to have country music, a mechanical bull, a photo booth and airbrushed novelties, such as towels and draw string bags which will be given away at the event.
WDJM requested $5,200 for the event, but SGA sought to give $6,000 – an $800 increase.
“It is awesome we got more money. We weren’t happy with what we had for activities,” Araya added.
Promotional items were allocated $1,200, including T-shirts and water bottles which will be given away at WDJM events.
The SGA budget for 2016 is to be determined. The funding will cover expenses for an administrative assistant, administrators’ forum, catering, Club Room II supplies, office furniture, general office supplies, fees, fines, licenses, permits, awards, Sam the Ram cleaning, water, hospitality tables, presidents’ council, promotional items, Sam the Ram, stations and walkie-talkies.
The rest of the budget will cover the All University Banquet, benevolence awards, CollegiateLink, Leadership Weekend, travel and conference, Week of Kindness, diversity and the Ram Handbook.
The largest sum from the budget is $17,000, which will be dedicated to travel and conferences.
Leadership Weekend was another debated event. A total of $6,000 is allocated for the event to pay for a camp deposit, buses, activities, snacks and supplies.
Parliamentarian Nate Stowes made a motion to cut the budget in half because “going off campus for retreats is an insignificant allocation of the Student Activity Trust Funds, SATF, because it does not involve the entire student body as a whole.”
Although the motion did pass, the notion of publicizing the event to more students than just those in SGA was acknowledged by SGA senators.
The diversity line item was funded $8,000, increasing from last year.
“Co-sponsored events with SGA will have access to this money for diversity events,” said SGA President Kendall Valente. Our goal is to “bring all kinds of students together,” she said.
SGA has added a new event which requires $1,200 of the budget for fiscal year 2016 called Sam the Ram. SGA will use the allocated budget to hire two students to be Sam the Ram at important school events such as Black and Gold Beginnings, Employment and Enjoyment Fair and Homecoming weekend.
The salary will be $12 an hour and funds were allocated for up to 100 hours. Thirty-eight of the hours will cover unanticipated events such as sports games.
Clubs are still allowed to use Sam the Ram for events, but during those times, the student wearing Sam the Ram costume will not be paid.
“We are trying to find an SGA or event member to escort Sam the Ram around at events,” said Valente.