The ASUSF Senate hosted a Mission Forum on March 29 where they outlined their 2020 Vision, explained their support of the proposed student activity fee increase, and received feedback and suggestions regarding the fee increase from students in the audience. Senate members would like to improve various aspects of student life over the course of the next three years through their 2020 Vision. Also, with the upcoming Spring election, Senate is hopeful that the student body will approve of the proposed student activity fee increase.
Vice President of Business Administration Patricia Kealy explained that this spring’s proposed student activity fee increase will be an additional $8 once a year for three years, starting in 2017, which inspired the plan’s name, 2020 Vision. This spring election will mark the third consecutive time the student activity fee increase has been included on the ballot. Kealy, alongside ASUSF President Larry Figueroa, led the discussion at the forum in an attempt to raise awareness of how the student activity fee is used, and to explain the Senate’s 2020 Vision.
Figueroa provided an explanation of the 2020 Vision, which is the Senate’s plan to improve specific areas of student life over the next three years. The first component of the vision aims to increase opportunities for student organizations and to sustain on campus events. This component of the vision relates directly to the monetary additions provided through the proposed student activity fee increase. Secondly, Senate hopes to gain more feedback from students in regards to the allocations of the activity fee, whether it be through tabling, polling, or surveys for students.
The third component of the vision accounts for accessibility and equity in resources for student organizations. This aims to foster a greater sense of equality between funded accounts and green and gold organizations so both groups have equal access to resources. The third component also suggests restructuring the fourth floor of the University Center by removing unused desk space and creating a communal workspace available for all students and all organizations to utilize.
Kealy and Figueroa explained that each student currently pays a student activity fee of $97 per semester. Contrary to popular belief, the student activity fee funds more than just campus-wide events; it also plays a major role in funding on-campus student organizations.
“[The student activity fee] goes towards a lot more than I think a lot of students are aware of,” said Kealy, “We really just want to promote a lot of awareness today and get a lot of feedback on where people think that fee is going right now, and where students would like to see it go in the future.”
Kealy outlined the three main categories that are funded through the student activity fee. This includes campus events, internal development of student organizations, and travel for student organizations.
Figueroa and Kealy opened up the forum to suggestions from the audience, to find out what students would like to see funded through the activity fee. Some students suggested getting more reputable speakers to come to USF, creating events for students to connect with alumni, and bringing more enthusiasm to Lunar New Year celebrations on campus.
Figueroa explained the next steps ASUSF will take within the next couple of weeks regarding the final budget for funded accounts.
“After finance committee makes the final budget it will be presented to the Senate and all students are welcome to come. We’ll go over the budget and talk about notable changes and then from there the Senate will make the decision whether or not to approve the budget, amend things, or recommend things,” he said.
As for the state of the student activity fee, students will be able to vote on the $8 proposed increase for 2017 during the upcoming Spring election.