The Student Government Association introduced its proposal to increase the Campus Programming Fund to $1.8 million to the Board of Trustees Wednesday at the Trustees-Student Liaison Committee meeting.
Kevin White, Student Budget Allocation Committee chair and head of the fund’s reform, explained the programming fund, why it’s important and why it needs the increase.
“The data shows students who participate in campus activities (funded with CPF) have a much higher GPA and retention rate,” White said. “Compared to other (Mid-American Conference) schools, we are last in programing allocations.”
The fund, which currently sits at $783,000, has not been adjusted for inflation since its inception in 2001.
The fund provides finance for Greek Life, the Leadership Institute, the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, The Office of Student Activities and Involvement (SAI), Program Board and registered student organizations.
White highlighted to the board the vast changes that have occurred to the offices that receive CPF funding since 2001.
“In 2001, there (were) a little less than 200 RSOs,” White said. “There (are) now roughly 400 RSOs, with more still to be created. In 1998, Club Sports only had eight sports. It has since exploded, having 43 with more than 704 participants.”
Club Sports can only fund 10-15 percent, which White said potentially puts students in harm’s way, as many athletes travel long distances to play a game and return the same night with no rests in between.
Before the Fall semester, SGA formed an exploratory committee to evaluate the effectiveness of the fund. Each office indicated it was suffering from the lack of sufficient funding.
SAI has already indicated it wants more late night programming, a revamp of MainStage and the implementation of an RSO officer training program.
Trustee Tricia Keith asked where the money for the increase will come from, questioning whether or not tuition rates would come into play.
“We’re considering either a small fee or asking for it to come out of tuition dollars like it should have been over the years,” SGA President Marie Reimers said. “We’ve estimated the $1.8 million can be broken down to $40 per student.”
Trustee Patricia Mooradian asked White if the activities funded by CPF were free to students.
“If we use a student fee model to have this increase, it would be interesting to see all the activities be free to students,” Mooradian said.
SGA aims to have everything ready to present to university administrators before the Spring semester starts so it can be voted on by the board at its February meeting.
“The board seemed interested,” White said after the meeting. “Everyone on the board remembers the times they were here as students and what student life was like. The offices that need the funding were part of their time here. Members of the board still have a connection to CMU.”