Letter to the Editor: SGA budget increase is justified, fair

I am writing today to give my full support to the Student Government Association (SGA) in its recent request for a budget increase of $7,000. Last week’s paper consistently referred to this as a 21 percent increase in budget, which, while correct, does not tell the whole story. The SGA has a current budget of $35,000 and if they were to ask for an increase of 10 percent (which they are allowed to request) they would be asking for an additional $3,500. Instead, your Student Government is asking for an increase of $7,325. So, indeed, they are asking for an additional $3,825 more than allowed under current guidelines to bring them to a total budget of just over $42,000.

$42,000 is 3 percent of your Student Activity Fee. To compare, most non-profit agencies are exceedingly well run if they can manage less than 10 percent in overhead costs. To have your student fee administered, provide programs for countless student organizations, and to advocate for students as tirelessly as your SGA executive board does takes time, organization and a good deal of effort.

Your student government has represented you well this year; it has solidified a direct election process that many students and administrators never felt would become a reality. It’s run a highly popular series of Campus Invasion and Synergy programs. It also successfully managed a $1.4 million Student Activities Fee and provided a tremendous year of campus programming. To add a further feather in its cap – most recently, the BRC announced its plan to restructure its own programming application process, which will give student organizations a better and more effective way to manage events, and give the BRC the fiscal foresight to be able to fund more events.

They’ve done all of this for students, student organizations and our campus while they faced the knowledge that their current scholarship program was ending to create a new Northeastern University Leadership Scholars program. While sharing their concerns that the loss of their scholarships would be a true hurdle to their ability to serve students, they also readily acknowledged, supported and challenged us to create a new program that would indeed benefit more student leaders and their hard work to help make it the program we hope it will be is not forgotten by this writer.

Running the largest student advocacy organization on this campus is hard. You put yourself on the line to represent what you feel is best for students and sometimes you need to make unpopular decisions because it is in the best interest of all students. That is leadership, and your executive board exemplified that in the last few months. While this request may fall in the category of unpopular decisions, it’s done for the right reasons and, with the long term success of this organization in mind, I hope you will strongly consider this in your decisions and debate.

Asking senators and the BRC to consider the circumstances of this year, the success of this organization and the vision to provide this newly- elected executive board with a level of support that will keep them advocating more effectively on your own behalf is a small price to pay to ensure that your new e-board members are there when you need them.

– John Silveria is the director of Student Leadership and Engagement.

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