SSF Fund Redistribution

SGA president unveils proposal to increase budget, on-campus presence

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Riley Owens, SGA president, revealed a twotiered plan focused on SSF fund redistribution, relocation of the SGA offices and increasing SGA governance and responsibilities, during the Oct. 19 SGA meeting.

Owens said the plan stemmed in part from his frustrations with this year’s SGA budget decrease and from a meeting on Oct. 12 with the Purdue West Lafayette and Purdue Fort Wayne student governments where he observed how the organizations operate and are structured. He noted that PFW, which has similar student enrollment to PNW, has an SGA budget that is nearly four times greater.

“They’re a lot more influential in their goals because they have more money to work with. There’s a huge gap between what we receive and what they do, but we’re the same brand of campus so we should be on the same level,” Owens said. “Right now, we’re receiving just enough to pay our senator stipends and that’s about it.”

Redistribution of SSF Funds

The proposal, based on the 2017-18 SSF allocation, cuts the intercollegiate athletics budget from 66 percent to 20 percent and disperses the remaining funds between the distribution fund, student activities, The Pioneer and student wellness. The new proposal would increase the current SGA budget of $24,000 by seven times, bringing it up to $171,000.

“I set the goals as lofty,” Owens said. “I’m assuming athletics will take a very hard stance to say no to this.”

Owens said it is currently unclear to him why athletics receives two-thirds of the SSF funds since athletics also has a separate budget within the university. He is currently working to meet with Stephen Turner, vice chancellor of Finance and Administration, to find an answer as to why, and find out why and how his proposal would affect the athletics department.

Meg McKeon, interim dean of students, was present at the SGA meeting and gave her support, noting that she believes it is important for student governments to be able to help students. She moved SGA out from the Office of Student Life’s supervision to directly under the Dean of Students to provide her direct aid.

Owens said that cutting senator stipends will be the only alternative if SGA does not receive an increase in its budget. Both the Purdue West Lafayette and Purdue Fort Wayne student government senators do not get paid and are volunteer positions, Owens noted.

“I know a few months ago I was in a hard stance against it, but unfortunately we are in a different place,” Owens said.

Relocated SGA Offices

Owens said he discussed with Turner potential new locations for the SGA offices on either campus that the Space Allocation & Utilization Advisory Group would consider for approval. SGA must submit a form and presentation for their Nov. 12 meeting.

On the Hammond campus, Owens hopes to relocate the office to the current NSO room in Calumet Falls or create a joint venture with the Welcome Center. He is also considering a room in CLO as a third option. On the Westville campus, Owens aims to expand into the Office of Student Life lounge in front of the SGA office to have a larger presence.

Increased Governance

Owens hopes SGA can increase its role by overseeing the new student organization approval process and the distribution fund for student organizations, creating a student travel fund and creating an SGA capital fund. He also wants to push for rollover SSF Funds. Part of his focus will also be towards student wellness and mental health, as well as pushing for ADA compliance ahead of the deadline.

He also wants to add an Executive Branch that would create three new positions under the Chief of Staff: executive assistants, director of communication and a director of outreach.

The graphics show the current SSF fund distribution (top) and the new SSF fund redistribution
(bottom) proposed by Riley Owens, SGA president, on Oct. 19.