Student Government, Inc. has lost approximately 20 percent of its annual operating budget because of the creation of a new programming entity, the Campus Activities Board.
Traditionally, the University put 100 percent of the student activity fees it collects along with tuition toward SGI’s budget. This practice, however, is not typical of universities across the country. This, as well as a great deal of examination as to what the students both want and need, led to the creation of CAB.
CAB will operate as a review board for all campus-wide activities. While CAB will not be fully responsible for any one event, it will serve as an advisory committee to groups hoping to plan larger events on the Queens campus.
Each year, SGI receives approximately $1.2 million in funding, which comes from the student activity fees. Although no final amount has been set, it is projected that CAB will take $0.2 million from these fees in order to fund their operation.
After the initial announcement that their budget would be cut, members of SGI were shocked. However, the re-allocation of funds was done in such a way that SGI would not be greatly affected by the change. Responsibilities formerly held by Student Government, such as heritage months, were given to CAB in order to reduce the stress on SGI’s newly decreased budget.
“Originally I was upset,” SGI President Rich Masana said, “but it’s the conditions I have to work under so I have to be optimistic.”
Although it took time for the members of the executive board to adjust, they were eventually able to cope with the change.
“I felt it was going to be a burden on the budget of Student Government,” SGI Treasurer Wesley Faucher added. Faucher, however also sees some positive aspects of the new budget. “I feel SGI will regulate more how it distributes its funds,” he said.
Added Darren Morton, Associate Dean of Student Development: “It was an educational process for them. It’s understandable that their first response would be ‘Ok, so now we’re having less resources to do what we need to do.'”
The proposal for CAB came after years of discussion. Work finally began on formalizing plans for the programming board after student satisfaction surveys came back showing a need for more campus-wide programming
“It really came into fruition after we did a complete assessment of Student Affairs and Student Government,” Morton said. “Looking at student surveys that students are filling out and the focus groups that we’ve had with students and trying to speak to their concerns about campus programming. It made sense to do it now.”
The main purpose of CAB is not to do its own programming, but to assist other organizations in staging programs that reach out to a broader audience. In order to achieve such goals, CAB intends to have members from all divisions of the University.
“We have just now formalized the actual nomination forms for the other people that will go on it,” Morton said.
Damien Duchamp, Director of Campus Activities, will serve as the chair of CAB. A student co-chair is yet to be appointed. Along with the chairs, CAB will have members from Public Safety, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, Athletics, and SGI. It is also expected that there will be both a representative commuter student and a representative resident.
“We’re now recruiting students to serve on CAB,” Duchamp said. “They’ll hear proposals for possible programming ideas.”
Although CAB is not fully operational at this point, it is expected that they will be up and running very soon.
“Within the next week or two we should be identifying the actual members of CAB and then from there it should start meeting and accepting proposals for ideas,” Morton said.
It is hoped that the implementation of the new programming board will allow St. John’s to provide students with a greater range of programming.
“CAB will really help to bring bigger talent, bigger concerts,” Duchamp said. “What we really want is to fill Carnesecca Arena with students.”