By Shelby Brown–
SGA President Aaron Vance says the administration’s remaining budget has been allocated to projects and initiatives campus wide.
“I wanted to talk about the SAC plan fund and the L Trail plan fund and our commitment to inclusivity, diversity, safety and to the student experience,” Vance said. “We wanted to go ahead and establish a new plant fund and go ahead and put money into two more plant funds.”
Plant funds are for physical or capital projects.
The L Trail
Vance says SGA has invested $20,000 of the remaining budget into the initiative.
“That’ll help us extend in conjunction with a grant that has been given to the university so we can continue to expand the L Trail and change out lighting now starting around the perimeters of campus and the tunnels.” Vance said.
The L Trail is a lit pathway that travels through Belknap campus marked by “L” signs. The trail’s goal is to provide a safer experience for students walking on campus at night.
The Identity Center / Center for Social Change
“This year, we decided that we were going to at least put in another $10,000,” Vance said. “So we went ahead and made that plant fund transfer for a grand total of $26,000 that we will use to help aid in once we finally get this project off the ground.”
Vance said that he and former SGA president Victoria Allen created a plant fund of $16,000 for the Identity Center last year. Currently, donors and support are being sought. Vance said Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs Mordean Taylor-Archer is working with students to develop a plan and figure out numbers.
“Granted, I don’t know, most capital projects are going to be stalled at least for the coming year while we work through the budget but we agree and we are going to continue to advocate for what will either be the Center for Social Change or the new Identity Center as a place to house all of those student services for the student population that need access to a place for these services,” Vance said.
Vance hopes it will house student groups like the Women’s Center and the LGBTQ Center.
The SGA is also working with the Dean of Students Office and Student Affairs to set aside money for incidentals.
Vance suggested funds could support projects in the new SAC like developing more spaces dedicated to RSOs. SGA also suggested improvements on the Red Barn.
“We went ahead and put $6,000 more towards the new library hours to continue to extend those through the rest of the semester and I hope that next year’s Top Four will heartily consider that,” Vance said.
Vance said students can look forward to the State of the Student Body address and another Cards in Action lobbying trip to Frankfort.
SGA is working with the Student Athletic Advisory Council, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the PEACC center to kick off “It’s On Us,” a sexual assault awareness campaign.
“In the next couple weeks, Attorney General (Andy Beshear will be) coming to campus to speak on his new Voice of Justice program that he’s rolling out across the state to bring awareness to these issues and the resources that his office can provide for survivors and people that may want to see more justice and attention brought to these issues,” Vance said.
SGA is also hoping to put more money aside for undergraduate travel. Vance says travel requests have gone up significantly this year.
“We’re only halfway through the spring semester and we’ve already spent it all,” he said. “Which is a good thing because I’m glad that students are involved and that students are traveling but we know that there’s still more conferences.”
Vance said the method of budget allocation is meant to tie back in with the goals, values and commitments of the university.
“(It’s) what we’ve been trying to do throughout the entire year to increase the student experience, to continue to advance inclusivity and equality on our campus and to help work towards these smaller incidental things,” Vance said.