The Student Government Association at Southeast Missouri State University has an expansive budget fueled by student fees that funds SGA's operational functions and accommodates eight branches of the Southeast community.
New members are elected into student government every April. The executive board then spends a week over the summer in training, where they decide the main goals for the year. Once these goals are set, the previous year's budget is reviewed and a new one is formed for the new fiscal year. After months of revision, the final draft of the budget is sent to the student senate to be approved by the fall semester.
"However, the budget itself continues to grow a little bigger because when enrollment at Southeast goes up the revenue goes up as well." SGA president Patrick Vining said in a phone interview.
For fiscal year 2011, nearly 32 percent of SGA's budget went toward student government's internal expenses.
A total of $96,705 was spent on student government activities, which ranged from its web design, student wages, photographers, postage, printing, prizes and awards, catering, ice cream socials and many other incidental fees.
The other 68 percent of SGA's 2011 budget totaled $210,295, according to the budget sheet prepared by SGA treasurer Emilee Hargis. It was distributed among student organizations, student communications, club sports, discretionary accounts, graduate fees that are reimbursed, the Student Activities Council, homecoming and the W.I.N.G.S. shuttles that run every weekend.
The budget for fiscal year 2012 is not yet finalized but it is expected to be very similar to the 2011 budget.
"We fund things such as organizations that are held on campus for the students, such as SAC movie nights," Vining said.
"We use some discretionary money for sending students to conferences. We work with athletics to send students on bus trips, such as the upcoming trip to the Murray State game."
Michelle Irby, the faculty adviser for student government, said SGA provides free tickets to students.
"We do a co-sponsorship with the president's office every spring to pay for 300 students tickets to see one event at the River Campus," Irby said. "This will be our third year, starting from when the River Campus was relatively new and thought it was a good way to get students to go see a show, and since it seemed to go very well we continued the partnership."
SGA is also working to establish a student innovation fund.
"This fund will be a challenge designed to allow students to submit an idea for an innovative project for our campus that will benefit current and future Southeast students," Jami Conley, head of SGA's Student Issues Committee, said via email. "The winning idea will have funding put toward completing the project up to a certain maximum (that will be established by SGA executive board prior to opening the challenge to students)."
The Student Issues Committee soon will post advertisements for submitting ideas for the fund. It will pick an idea and begin work toward its completion in the near future. Although a definite dollar amount has not been set as to how much can be spent on the student innovation fund, members expect it could be up to $50,000. This money is included in the budget unclaimed, and can be allocated toward whatever the student government decides, and this year SGA voted to try this new student project.
"The idea behind it is that it's a great way for students to accomplish projects," Vining said. "It is a way for them to spend money to improve campus and improve student life in some way."