SGA discusses future of SAFAC rollover money, delays Student Savings Plan
By Daria Sokolova
Roosevelt University’s Student Government Association, the organization that addresses student needs and concerns, held its weekly meeting Oct. 16 from 5 to 6 p.m.
According to SGA Treasurer Svjetlana Grbic, a total of 17 senators from the Committees of Academics, Campus Life, Communications and Political Affairs were present at the meeting that took place in the Spertus Lounge of the Auditorium Building.
SGA President Joseph Knotts started the meeting by announcing executive reports that included information about his recent meeting with University President Charles Middleton.
“My meeting with President Middleton is a monthly occurrence that he has held with Student Government presidents since the beginning of his presidency,” Knotts said. “It’s largely meant for the SGA president to prepare for the monthly University Senate Meeting, where I give a brief update on student affairs to the faculty and staff.”
Knotts said one of the topics he discussed with Middleton was the possibility of opening a health care center on campus in Chicago. As Knotts mentioned, some progress has been made since SGA pitched the idea.
“Almost a year ago, SGA had a healthcare commission,” Grbic explained. “The commission worked on gathering information about getting a nurse on campus. We passed along our findings, and now they are looking into bringing a nurse on campus.”
Following the opening statement, the senate held a vote on the color of signature cardigans that would serve as a uniform for those members of the senate who represent SGA at on- and off-campus events. Senators could choose between black, gray and blue colors.
“We are ordering cardigans because we want something to wear when we attend student events,” Grbic said. “We want to let the students know SGA is in attendance. We go with cardigans over T-shirts, because they are more appropriate for our organization.”
SGA decided on black cardigans, and Grbic said the organization will use its own budget to pay for them.
After the vote, chair of the Campus Life Committee, Sen. John Imperato announced that the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee had a total of $40,000 in rollover money available for students’ needs.
“As of now, we have rollover money for the school,” Imperato said. “It’s not any organization’s money. We want to use $40,000 for the students. And we don’t want to do it in a way where we are just asking SGA and RU Proud. It’s for everyone.”
“The Student Government put up for referendum that a Student Activity Fee be included in tuition,” Knotts explained. “It passed and was approved by President Middleton. Ever since, students have payed the $25 fee with their tuition. From there, it is split up about 60-40 to SPEED and SAFAC. SPEED puts on all the big events and funds some other things, as well. SAFAC allocates the rest of the fee money to various student orgs. based on how much they will be able to benefit the student body.”
The announcement spurred an array of ideas for the most productive investment for the rollover money. Some senators expressed ideas of contacting RU Green and spending money on planting trees around the Schaumburg Campus, while others suggested investing in a “multicultural room”—a place where students could productively spend their leisure time.
Juliet Anderson, senator from the Communications Committee, proposed a potential survey that would help to determine how the student body wants to allocate the funds.
Imperato noted that a specialized event also could help to reach a broader number of students.
“We want to come up with multiple ways of communications to get a collective [opinion],” he said. “Maybe host an event.”
According to Imperato, SAFAC currently holds $20,000 available for student events in the fall semester on top of the rollover $40,000.
“I believe $4,000 has been spent already, but then the $40,000 is separate from that,” Imperato said.
Another topic for discussion was the Memorandum of Understanding between a company called Collegiate Services Inc. and SGA. The agreement would establish a Student Savings Club at the university in order to provide discounted goods and services from local and national businesses to students in an exchange for a $1,000 annual fee.
Knotts said adopting the agreement is a multi-step process that would require a subsequent approval of such organizations as the Center for Student Involvement and SPEED.
“Representatives from CSI would have to approve it, and $1,000 would have to come from SPEED,” Knotts explained.
According to Knotts, several Chicago schools, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, have already adopted the Memorandum of Understanding that gives students discounts at a variety of stores and businesses that include Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Hookah Lounge and Foodler.
After going over the main points of the agreement, Anderson addressed a few questions concerning its efficacy.
“We want to make sure students are going to be interested in the businesses that are offered, otherwise it would be certainly irrelevant to us,” Anderson said.
Facing a number of unanswered questions including the limited range of services and their actual benefit to students, SGA was unable to come to a unanimous decision.
“The Student Savings Club is far too controversial at this time to come to an agreement,” Knotts said. “It’s quite a bit of money to invest, and we need to make sure it’s worth it. The E-Board will be meeting with the representative soon to gain a greater understanding.”
At the end of the session, senators tabled the Student Discount Card and sent it to the Campus Life Committee that will examine the proposal more thoroughly before presenting their final decision to the Senate.