SGA allocated $44,809.73 to eight clubs and organizations, including itself, during its meeting on April 3.
It was the last meeting during which SGA could entertain funding requests for Fiscal Year 2018 and SGA received a historic number of requests.
Student Activity Treasurer Sarah Horwitz said, “We are currently in an unusual situation that has never happened before in SGA history. There have never been 30 funding requests submitted within a one-week time span to be reviewed by SGA.”
In order to fund the volume of requests in time, SGA voted to move $25,000 from the reserves account into the Student Activity Trust Fund (SATF). The SATF is an account funded by students’ activity fees.
Horwitz said there is sufficient money in the SATF, but it is not currently accessible because they are waiting on cancelled trip money, ticket revenue and leftover event money that is spread across the accounts of multiple clubs on campus. Moving money from reserves takes priority over other transfers, so SGA would have immediate access.
Horwitz said, “Please be aware that this is OK. We’ve already spoke to our resource person about this, as well as the president of the University, and they agreed that this would be the fastest and safest way of getting money for these events.”
The largest request of the night came from SGA President Kyle Rosa and Senate Chair Mike O’Brien. The two were seeking $17,239 for a “pilot program” to install soap and electric hand dryers in select bathrooms in five residence halls.
Rosa said they intend to install the dryers one male designated and one female designated bathroom in Horace Mann, Peirce, Larned, Linsley and Corinne Hall Towers.
The cost would cover $8,490 for ten units and the necessary supplies to install them, $6,500 for the electricians and $2,249 for any contingencies. Residence Life will be supplying all the soap, since it is actually cheaper than the hand sanitizer currently provided.
If the pilot program is deemed successful, Rosa said administrators will consider implementing it in all residence halls with communal bathrooms.
O’Brien said the administration is not funding the initial project because a significant amount of money and resources are tied up in state-mandated renovation projects for the next two years, including projects in Crocker and Linsley halls. If students want to see change soon, Rosa said SGA would need to fund the changes.
When the floor opened for debate, senators expressed concerns that this was not the appropriate use of student activity funds and that administrators may not implement changes even if the program is successful.
Social Events Coordinator Hailey Small said she did not see the administration paying for a full installation in the future. “I feel like, to be blunt, they’re not going to really care after this. And if it goes well, I feel like they’re going to be like, ‘Well this is your problem. You paid for this, so pay with the rest of it with your money.’”
Rosa said while it’s true they cannot guarantee the administration will go forward with the project if the pilot is a success, he is confident that enough students have advocated for the amenities that the administration cannot ignore it.
Both Rosa and O’Brien added they have had a lot of support from facilities and other departments. Patricia Whitney, assistant vice president of facilities, implemented a similar program at her previous school and will provide electricians to do the work. SGA will only be funding overtime hours for the electricians.
Senator Mikayla Quinlin said, “I know you said this is the activities fee and it should be used as a way for students to voice their opinion, but to me this is just not an activity. I strongly feel that this is something that we, as SGA, should not be funding. I think the school needs to somehow find the budget to do this.”
Quinlin also said SGA needed to acknowledge the large commuter population at FSU. Commuters fees are also used in the SATF, and this use of funds would not benefit them at all.
Senators were also concerned about possible student fee increases if the pilot program succeeds and administrators decide to install hand dryers across campus, a process that would result in significant and costly electrical work in a number of the buildings.
Mike O’Brien said they could not confirm or deny that fees could increase if the administration does take the program further. He confirmed that fees would not increase this year due to the pilot program, however.
After three failed attempts by senators to bring a vote to the floor to allocate $0 to the pilot program, SGA voted 17 to 7 to fund the entire $17,239.