From improving communication to budget issues, the small group of 30 students and Student Government Association officials discussed a myriad of issues at Sunday’s SGA forum.
The forum, co-sponsored by Men of Impact, allowed students to engage in an open discussion with leaders from the executive and legislative branches of SGA. Due to a seminar in Atlanta, Student Supreme Court justices were unable to attend
Budget allocation took center stage as SGA Senate President Aziza Bowser explained how various organizations receive funds through activity and
service fees. Currently, the senate budget committee is holding interviews with A&S agencies for next year. Each agency must present a proposed budget, past expenditures, a calendar of events and its goals and functions to be considered. Darnell Strom, a senior senator, said that although the senate has $3.12 million to allocate, it is impossible to please every group.
“It’s an intense process,” he said. “If I totaled all the proposed budgets, the budget would have to be $10 million to accommodate everyone.”
Bowser rejected the assumption of Senate Allocated, one of 62 agencies, receiving special treatment in the budget process.
“I just got finished interviewing the other day,” she said. “I get scrutinized about where the money is going like anybody else.”
In response to Bowser comments on the importance of morale in the senate, students voiced concerns about officials using SGA as a stepping stone to becoming members of Greek organizations.
“That’s something the Pan Hellenic Council needs to address. You can’t always see motives,” Strom said. “But it all goes back to the students during elections. If we had more than 3,000 students out of 12,000 vote, then the real candidate would win.”
SGA President Andre Hammel, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., emphasized his loyalty lied with all students, regardless of Greek affiliation or lack thereof.
“I know the perception is there, but I don?t represent Alpha alone. I represent FAMU,” he said.
Throughout the forum, communication was a major concern shared by both officials and students. In an effort to attract more students to weekly senate meetings, Bowser said a meeting will take place on the Set in the future. Surveys have also been distributed to freshmen and students studying abroad to solicit feedback in addition to a weekly “SGA talk” radio show on WANM-90.5 fm.
“You can always approve upon communication,” Strom said. “Until every student knows what’s going on, the communication gap needs to be filled.”
But Strom recognized the lack of publicity of meetings versus activities.
“The same intensity in which you publicize a party, is the same intensity inwhich you should publicize a board of trustees meeting,” he said.
With campaigns beginning Wednesday Bowser, Hammel, and Strom agreed that students needed to elect dedicated and goal-oriented leaders to ensure their concerns will continue to be addressed.
“Question every person running,” Strom said. “Don?t let a catchy phrase and a smile get them into office.”