As NKU bounces back from budget cuts in the early 2000’s, organizations such as the Student Government Association are seizing the opportunity to recoup funds and are finding success in their quest.
“In 2003, all state agencies were asked to contribute funds back to the state due to (state) budget shortfalls, and student organizations were not exempt,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Mark Shanley.
SGA President Josh Ruth also saw the effects of previous budget cuts. “The budget cuts in 2003 were so drastic that most departments had to cut faculty members,” Ruth said. “The professors had to go so far as to e-mail syllabi (to students) to save money.”
Ruth explained that many universities charge a flat rate for tuition and then request additional money for fees. Since NKU bundles all fees into the price for tuition, it is hard to specify how much should go to each program on campus. State funding has now increased, but because NKU “bundles their tuition, the administration must determine where additional funds should go now that enrollment and support has increased,” Ruth said.
Ruth saw how quickly funds were running out for student activities and knew something had to be done. He watched as The Legacy Fund, which finances travel for student organizations, dwindled before the end of fall semester. “The Legacy Fund was given $32,000 this (academic) year for student travel, and it hasn’t even lasted until Nov. 1,” Ruth said.
“Without funding for conferences, travel or events, many student organizations would never be afforded the opportunities needed for them to grow,” said SGA Senator Kate Brodbeck.
SGA began last semester working on a presentation that would illustrate the need for increased funding to student organizations. In August, SGA presented the results to NKU President Dr. James Votruba during its fall retreat.
SGA submitted a formal resolution request for additional annual funding for student organization programming sources and the student fee board Sept. 11. The resolution ultimately appealed for $150,000 of additional funds and received $100,000, which will be distributed to student organizations by the Student Fee Allocation Board. Shanley said added enrollment led to added revenue, which helped the administration grant the request of SGA.
“The SGA did a great job of communicating the impact of enrollment growth and the president was able to respond,” Shanley said. “Our university operates on a culture of evidence, and the SGA made a compelling case for the administration.”
Ruth was quick to point out SGA is not responsible for the distribution of funds to student organizations. Any student organization can submit a request for funding to the Allocation Board for review, Ruth said.
Ruth plans to request the additional $50,000 during the NKU budget review.
According to Brodbeck, Votruba “truly cares about the students. In my experiences with him, he has always been willing to do whatever he can to help every student be provided with the opportunities to get the most out of their college experience.”
This support, according to Shanley, makes NKU a “university on the move.”