Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Student Services Fee pays for $9500 SGA vacation retreat


UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) was given a budget of $47,650 for the 2011-2012 academic year. The funds go toward a variety of expenses for the organization. The SGA’s expenses are paid for with money collected from the Student Services Fee, which UTSA students pay every semester as part of their tuition. 45 percent, or $21,593, of the SGA’s budget goes toward officer stipends, a leadership-building trip, the SGA banquet and retreats in the fall and spring. The SGA’s LeaderFund receives an additional $9,000 on top of their annual budget.

The remainder of the budget is devoted to the golf cart parade, office operations, public relations, the University Life Awards and various expenditures related to committees. A more detailed copy of the budget is available upon request at the SGA office on campus, which is located next to the Subway in the University Center (UC).

UTSA students taking 12 hours of coursework during the spring 2012 semester paid $184.80 for the Student Services Fee. This fee not only pays for the SGA’s budget, but the budgets for the other UTSA-sponsored organizations as well.

Together, these other organizations such as the Campus Activities Board, the Greek councils, Honors Alliance, Student Organization Council, UTSA Ambassadors and VOICES, receive around $146,000 from the Student Services Fee.

In regard to how the money is spent, Student Government Association President Xavier Johnson said SGA achieved several goals this year.

“Bringing alcohol to Chili’s on campus, convincing UTSA to build a Starbucks at the downtown campus, creating a waitlist program for registration and removing a FERPA violation,” Johnson said.

Johnson also explained that the SGA is helping plan football games, coordinating a sustainability forum, improving the planning of the University Life Awards and creating a stronger presence on campus.

SGA Treasurer Darnell Thomas also added to the list of their achievements.

“SGA has gotten half-price perishables at the C3 convenience store in the last hour of business, doubled the number of tailgating spaces at the Alamodome (from 30 to 70), started double-sided printing, passed the transportation referendum and (the campus) will be getting more hydration stations in the fall,” Darnell said.

The SGA also collected and answered student concerns involving these issues.

“This year, we utilized such methods as Roving Surveys given across all of campus, surveys, polls, tabling for student concerns, going to student organizations’ meetings and face-to-face interaction with various constituents,” Johnson said.

We also increased our Facebook presence as well as other social networks to try and reach out to more students as well. The individual members and representatives also held focus group meetings and other discussions as well as a presence at various campus events getting feedback and other heavily populated student meeting areas.”

According to the SGA’s constitution, the purpose of the organization is to, “Promote student rights and responsibilities; promote cooperation and partnership among the students, student organizations, and the University faculty, staff, and administration; promote the interests of student life; promote education and learning; review and make recommendations on matters affecting the university community; provide for the exchange of information, ideas, and opinions; foster a sense of university community; and develop leadership opportunities for students.”

Thomas explained the purpose of the SGA is to “serve as the representatives of the student body to university administration.”

UTSA students are expressing mixed feelings about how SGA is representing them within the university.

“SGA is worth it. I believe if you inform enough people about a problem, then you will get what you want,” senior anthropology major Destiney Hennington said. “I feel that they represent me on campus. I feel I can be represented more if I involve myself in the organization.”

Hennington also explained why she is not yet involved in the SGA.

“I didn’t know enough about the organization or where it was located.” Hennington said. She also proposed that SGA should, “go around campus and talk to people. It’s more personable.”

Some students think the SGA does not need the money they receive.

“SGA doesn’t deserve the $47,000 they receive each year,” senior health major Elena Martinez said. “The last time I heard from them, a guy was trying to get elected. He wanted to get rid of the cats on campus. I told him no because I like the cats.”

• Officer Stipends & Student Worker Salary – $6,357

• Office Operations – $1,125

• Public Relations – $4,750

• FIRE Freshman Involvement – $1,000

• University Life Awards – $7,800

• Golf Cart Parade – $4,525

• Joint Sponsorship Activities – $1,850

• Forum/Committee Expenditures – $900

• UT Student Advisory Council – $250

• SGA Institute – $5,907

• SGA Banquet – $3,350

• Fall SGA Retreat – $9586

• Spring SGA Retreat – $250

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