SU Treasury surveys student opinion on budgeting
The Student Union Treasury has conducted a campus-wide survey of student opinions on how funds should be allocated in the general budget for the 2008-2009 school year; this budget will be the first of its kind to be conducted in this way.
The idea for the survey came from sophomore William Osberghaus, a Student Union (SU) Treasury representative and chair of the Student Groups Activities Committee (SGAC). Osberghaus says that he came up with the idea because he believes the Treasury can benefit from new methods of gauging student opinion.
“I thought it was a good idea to get student body input if we’re going to represent the student body,” Osberghaus said. “We should know what the student body wants and how they want their student activities fee to be spent.”
The survey was conducted via an e-mail sent to the student body and linked students to a Web site with questions asking students to prioritize different ways to spend the student activities fee. Students could respond by ranking their agreement or disagreement with different ideas. According to Osberghaus, about 850 students responded to the survey, 700 of whom completed it in full.
The survey included a wide range of questions. Some of the issues included the amount of money given to large university programming groups like the Gargoyle Committee, Campus Programming Council and Team 31; whether the University should invite a smaller number of well-known speakers or a greater number of lesser-known speakers; and whether or not the University should pay for student groups to travel to conferences and competitions across the country.
According to Osberghaus, the survey will help settle issues that are often debated in the Treasury.
For example, early analysis of the survey suggests that a majority of students approve of funding student groups to travel, an issue which has long been contested in Treasury’s allocation of funds.
“The survey will also make the Treasury more efficient,” Osberghaus said.
Of the students who completed the survey, a majority ranked campus speakers and concerts as most valuable to them in terms of SU funding allocation. Regarding concerts, it appears from early estimates that most students would like to see equal or greater funding for concerts between the Gargoyle and W.I.L.D.
Student reactions to the survey have varied, though most seem to think that it is a good idea in theory.
Freshman Tolya Kuznetsov considers the survey to be a successful method of gauging student input, but thinks the polling could be expanded over time to better represent the student body.
“I think they could use more surveys throughout the school year itself to more specifically decide what they want to spend funds on,” Kuznetsov said.
Sophomore Melissa Goodwin also feels that the survey is a good idea but believes that the method in which it was conducted could be improved in order to maximize student involvement. She says she did not complete the survey because she did not notice it in her inbox.
“Lot of people just delete mass e-mails,” said Goodwin.
Although Goodwin did not fill out the survey, she still cares about spending decisions made by SU Treasury.
“Some things are given too much money, and other things aren’t given enough,” she said.
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