Tag Archives: Student Government Association

Club Sports Support Funding Seperation from Academic Clubs

By Brittany Burke

During the 2011 Student Government Association elections a platform was introduced that would potentially separate the funding of club sports from academic clubs.

In the past there have been misunderstandings between the club sports teams and the SGA, leading to problems with base budgets and confusion. To minimize the confusion and aggravation for both parties, newly-instated President Eric Bergenn, Vice President Liz Braun and Treasurer Nick Alaimo have begun to look into the possibility of splitting sports from academics.

“I think it’s great just to get the clubs finally, just to be on our own…so people can finally realize that we actually do need money,” said rugby club president Nick Kowaleski. “This way if they separate us from other things I think we’ll just be more listened to and we’ll be more…represented if we’re our own separate thing now. I just feel like it’s going to be a lot better.”

This idea isn’t something that will be taken lightly by the SGA senate and finance committee, but it is an idea that was well-received by the respective club sports.

“I understand that it could take a full academic year to get an idea around, although I don’t think that it actually will take that long, but as far as SGA is concerned they may want to wait a year until they are comfortable with it,” said Kevin Leaver, hockey club treasurer. “But I think this is an idea that needs to be adapted immediately. It’s going to work out in the short term and long run for the two different parties of academic clubs and sports clubs. I’m excited that that’s finally been thought of, and I’m sure the SGA and SALD will be able to brainstorm quite well together to best go about having two separate pools of funding for clubs.”

For now the idea is to modify the paper work used by the team clubs and academic clubs which will be more compatible to each one’s needs. There was talk of potentially delegating a specific pool of money for just club sports usage, but the new ideas will take time and need to be implemented step by step.

“I think we should see how [the new paperwork] goes first, then see what we can do after that,” said Kowlaeski. “Like I said before, and I’m going to keep saying it, what Liz [Braun] wants to do is a great idea, and I think it’s going to work. But I think we should try that before we try anything else but, it’s getting easier in trying to get money, especially in the base budget this year. It’s been easier this year than we’ve ever done it and we’ve gotten more than we ever got.”

The main concern between both the SGA and the club sports has been the communication between the two parties.

“I think [SGA] understands what we’re trying to do and what we do,” said hockey team president Ryan Beaulieu. “I mean maybe they don’t understand the scope or size of what we do, but I think they understand that we play games, and we compete, and we go to tournaments, and we host tournaments, we have playoffs I think they understand that. [The new system is] going to be easier for [SGA] to understand what we’re asking for and it’s going to be easier for us to portray to them what we need and why we need it.”

According to the hockey and rugby representatives, while the new idea is still in the early stages, they can already tell that the SGA’s interest has had a positive effect on the base budget requests, and they understand where the SGA is coming from.

“I am happy with how much the hockey team and the lacrosse team has been allocated for next year,” said Leaver. “I think it’s record amounts I believe, at least since I’ve been at this university. It is frustrating because…the nature of this base budget request process, the SGA finance committee has so many more questions for us, which I completely agree with, they want to be thorough, but that’s just it, there’s so much more that needs to be covered which is why club sports need to be considered for separate pool of fundings.”

The SGA senate and finance committee are still looking into ways in which they can enhance their ways of dealing not only with club sports, but sports in general. According to Alaimo they are researching schools such as Southern Connecticut State University and their ways of handling separate committees, but every idea is still one that must be thought about and discussed before it can be implemented.

However, despite what happens in the short run, both club teams and the SGA are set to benefit.

SGA VP Hopes to Separate Club Sports from the Rest

By Brittany Burke

As it stands, the CCSU club teams and the regular clubs are clumped together. This means that club teams such as ice hockey, rugby, lacrosse, baseball and equestrian follow the same rules when it comes to base budgets as clubs such as the Latin American Student Organization, the car club and the construction management club, which makes requests difficult for both the team and SGA.

However, this could all change if newly elected Student Government Association Vice President Liz Braun has anything to say about it. As part of her platform, Braun had the idea to separate club sports from the rest of the clubs.

“Right now I’m planning on giving [club sports] their own process, because right now the paper work they have to fill out, it caters to the general clubs on campus and the team club that has league dues and equipment and uniforms, that’s completely different,” said Braun. “So the first thing would be to fix up that to make it [easier] for them, then hopefully I’d like to separate it so when we’re doing the budget process, it’s more like comparing apples to apples rather than apples to oranges.”

While running for vice president, she and SGA president-elect Eric Bergenn reached out to the respective club teams as a way of getting feedback and help in trying to polish her idea. She has traveled to the Newington ice rink to speak with members of the ice hockey club following a pickup game, worked with the men’s lacrosse club in formulating a base budget to enhance the team’s ability to get the money they need to cover next year’s expenses, while also corresponding via e-mail with the other club teams.

“I think it’s a really great idea,” said Bergenn. “The way that budgets are requested is very specific and it doesn’t cater at all to the need of club sports teams, but it seems to fit all the other clubs pretty well. So to come up with a creative way to give them something to actually base their budget request and line items on would be helpful for both club sports teams and the senate to decipher what fits into what line items the best.”

Braun’s idea, while still in its early phases, will eventually see an overhaul of the way in which club sports fill out budgetary requests. This will also allow for the club sports to have a separate budget to request money from.

“I definitely want to break [the budget] apart, possibly give [club sports] their own pool of money, it’s definitely going to be tough to get it past the senate, but that’s definitely my plan and creating more fundraising opportunities for the sports clubs and working that into their budget,” said Braun.

“A lot of sports clubs come to us and ask for the full amount and they don’t take into account in their request member dues and fundraising, so this semester I worked with lacrosse club and created a whole new budget incorporating their fundraising and member dues and it ended up cutting their request in half and making the SGA more apt to giving them the money,” said Braun. “I’m going to work with them and teach them how they should present their budget and how it’s going to differ from other people’s budget.”

Braun’s idea will show more understanding for the club sports more so than the SGA policies have in the past. Unlike other clubs, the team sports need money to pay for league dues, uniforms, game officials, away game transportation and facility dues.

“It’s very hard for us to go through budgets for sports clubs because it’s hard to fit things into office supplies or conferences for sports clubs so to give them an opportunity to talk about instead of bringing into entertainment, putting on games and sports equipment, instead of supplies it would make things much simpler for both sides,” said Bergenn.

Despite the extra costs, club sports are grouped together by the SGA, which is what Braun would like to change. While Braun would like to try and implement her idea in time for the next base budget requests she still has to get the changes past the SGA senate.

“It’s something that could happen fairly quickly, but it is something that the senate may want to discuss, however, I mean it’s something that could happen quickly, but there’s no base budget requests until the end of next year whether or not we want to incorporate that into next year’s contingencies is still up in the air,” said Bergenn.

The idea to separate the two entities came to Braun after spending time helping to create the men’s lacrosse base budget.

“I know that whenever the base budget process would come around the captain of the lacrosse team would come in and he’d happen to be in when I was in,” said Braun. “We’ve had hour to two hour long discussions of how we could make his budget better and it just never worked out because I didn’t have enough support from other people and they didn’t have enough support from other people, so it was kind of just me and him working together.”

“I’ve always had this idea that the sports clubs weren’t getting as much out of it, and of course the whole thing with the hockey club asking for rink fees, it was just tough and it was just [Senator] Ashley Foy helping them out, and nobody else,” said Braun. “So I just think it would be easier if it was separated in the first place so they wouldn’t be compared to LASO…I just want to help out the clubs who don’t get so much support from us because we give certain clubs a ton or support but we sometimes miss out on others.”

As of right now the sports clubs and regular clubs remain on the same plane, but Braun plans to continue formulating her idea over the summer months with the help of the captains from each of the prospective teams.

Editor’s Column: Who’s to Blame for SGA Elections Turnout?

By Michael Walsh

Our Student Government Association is a sleeping giant.

Sleeping because of the lack of student interest in the group; giant because of the massive potential the group holds in the form of possible influence on our campus.

In last month’s elections a lowly 556 students voted for next year’s student government, down by more than 30 percent from last year.

If the U.S. News recent college ranking report is close to correct, CCSU currently has 9,989 undergraduate students floating around its New Britain campus. A pathetic 5.5 percent of you decided to take a long enough Facebook break last month to vote, and no matter how informed that vote was, I applaud you for it.

According to the same U.S. News report, the private Quinnipiac University has fewer than 6,000 undergraduate students. The Quinnipiac Chronicle reported that 2200 votes were counted in deciding their SGA’s next president, a number that puts them at a healthy 38 percent student voter turnout.

CCSU’s much maligned student involvement levels aren’t consistent with other school’s student output across the state.

Unopposed presidential candidate circumstance aside, CCSU’s student government low voter turnout is an unfortunate victim of its own process. There were 14 applicants for the commuter senator position on this year’s ballot. Thirteen of these 14 were practically handed important seats on a senate that works with nearly $800,000 of our student fees. There was a little bit more competition to be found in the resident senator category, as only eight of the 13 applicants received spots on senate. Conversely, all six students that ran for at-large senator made the cut; it didn’t matter how many votes they received in the ‘pick 6′ category.

Low voter turnout is, no secret, a product of a low student interest in much of anything on the CCSU campus. You can’t blame the student government for only having six contenders in a category that six come out of or have otherwise absurd winning rates because no one else stepped up and ran for the positions. And you can’t blame students for not caring to vote for categories where they’re allowed to select a majority of the candidates.

But still, five percent? That’s a baffling result. Roughly 20 percent of UConn’s larger student body was able to throw down votes between partying. Voting for the CCSU SGA was made painlessly simple when Internet voting was implemented, allowing students to make a difference in their pajamas.

But is the voting platform utilized the wrong choice? After CCSU purchased its services, the university has tried to push Collegiate Link on its students for a few years now, and the only ones it has caught on to are the members of clubs – because they are required to sign up if they want to receive funding. And let’s be honest, the ones already on Collegiate Link and the ones already in clubs don’t need extra motivation to vote. They’re more aware of the elections and they’re certainly conscious to the fact that the SGA decides how much money their club will receive.

At The Recorder’s inaugural SGA candidate discussion, the consensus between those running for executive positions seemed to be that using e-mail to notify students of events should become a rarity and a thing of the past while more creative tactics should be put into motion. I mostly agree, but perhaps a friendly reminder on election day with a link wouldn’t have been a bad idea. E-mail isn’t that antiquated.

The argument can be made that these extra votes that would come from e-mail discovery on the day of elections would have been made by people who wouldn’t have voted otherwise, thus rendering their votes as uninformed and pointless. Despite this likely sound argument, the key is finding a way to somehow get these apathetic, uninterested and boring students somehow interested, engaged and hooked on student government and if that means sending out a dull e-mail that comes off as begging for votes and student involvement, then so be it.

The student government has yet to make a strong presence known in the social networking world. No universal Twitter account exists and the 32-member Facebook group hasn’t been posted on since 2010. The only real form of marketing, outside of tacky signs and sidewalk chalk I can’t read, comes in the way of prospective candidates sending you group invites in a naive way of thinking I’m going to vote for you because you spammed my Facebook instead of my e-mail. I hate Facebook and you’re likely achieving the opposite.

I wish I had a solution to this problem. I wish it were easy. It seems like it should be. Students taking interest in the university their money goes towards sounds like something none of us should even think twice about, but apparently most don’t even think once about it, placing other things higher on their radars.

Whatever the necessary step is, it must be a cohesive group effort and both sides must want it. The SGA holds events and does an earnest job trying to get its name out there and not be an invisible entity, but it needs to be more creative in attracting student interest. Prospective senators need to find a way to separate themselves from the pack. Lame signs aren’t the way inside a Blue Devils’ heart.

At the same time, CCSU students must try and find time to give a damn. Your time here is shorter than you think and the best way to prepare for any potential career is to get involved at the student level. Tell me you’re too busy and I’ll laugh in your face. I’ve heard it all before. Besides, the busiest students at this school are the ones working hard as a SGA senator, organizing weekly events for their groups and clubs or putting together media publications like this very newspaper.

I graduate in a few weeks. I’ve written many times about the potential I think CCSU has as a campus and community. I still believe in that potential. I don’t want to be cynical about my generation’s interest in things that actually matter, but sometimes I have no choice.

Five percent?

Really, CCSU?

Participation Declines in SGA Elections

By Sara Berry

Student participation in student government elections declined by more than 30 percent from last year, according to SGA elections committee chairman Drew Blythe. A total of 556 students voted in this year’s election, down from the nearly 800 that voted in 2010.

Blythe said the number of students participating was around what is expected of elections held online. He also acknowledged that Eric Bergenn’s unopposed run could be a factor in the decline of votes cast.

“I think this was a great turnout considering the president position ran uncontested,” said Blythe. “Last year…we had two big name candidates running for president [in Alex] Rodriguez and [Matt] Vekakis, who both ran thoroughly planned out campaigns.”

Last year the race for president was extraordinarily close with Vekakis winning by a mere 11 votes.

“This is less than usual,” said SGA president-elect Eric Bergenn, “but there usually isn’t an unopposed presidential candidate. This isn’t a great turn-out, but it isn’t necessarily that bad considering the unopposed presidential ballot.”

Bergenn said that it is always important to have as many people vote in SGA elections as possible so that students feel like they are being represented in student government.

Students who did not vote had a variety of reasons, most relating to lack of interest.

“I just wasn’t interested, and don’t care for politics. It comes across as a popularity contest,” said junior Dannel Petgrave.

Senior Raven Cohen said she didn’t vote because she is leaving the university in May.

“I didn’t vote because I’m graduating this semester, so I didn’t really feel like it affected me,” Cohen said.

Blythe said that the elections committee and the Student Activities Leadership Development department decided to hold the elections completely online due to last year’s successful implementation of Internet voting. Students had the opportunity to vote at one of two computers set up in the student center, provided by the SGA specifically for voting in the elections.

“[We wanted] to reach as many [students] as possible because [they] were walking by in between classes and we wanted to get people,” Blythe said. “Most of the voting did happen online at home or in dorms, not at the tables. I think it’s just more convenient for people to do it at home in their own time so they can look over the candidates.”

Blythe said that the computers were not staffed by SGA senators at all times due to scheduling conflicts, leaving about four hours when in-person voting was left unattended.

The newly elected SGA officers will be sworn in on May 4 at the final meeting of the 2010-11 school year.

Interim No More, Braun Elected SGA Vice President

By Matt Clyburn

Dropping the interim title she’s carried for the better part of this semester, Elizabeth Braun will take on the role of Student Government Association vice president after winning the race against Erika Dawson-Head last week.

Braun defeated Dawson-Head 313 to 174 according to results released by the SGA elections committee last Thursday.

Braun will serve as SGA vice president next year. Photo: Kenny Bar

The new SGA treasurer will be Nick Alaimo, who defeated Alex Rodriguez for the position during last week’s elections. Alaimo won by just 41 votes during an election where a total of 556 votes were received April 19 and 20.

Eric Bergenn, running unopposed for SGA president, will assume the position at the final meeting of this semester. Bergenn recently lost a bid to become interim president in the wake of former President Matt Vekakis’ resignation earlier this semester.

Braun is the president of the outing club and the current vice president of Carroll Hall. Following the resignation of former SGA Vice President Chris Kyle in December, Braun was elected interim vice president by the SGA Senate in February.

“I feel relieved and thankful,” Braun told The Recorder Monday. “Relieved that I no longer need to think about the election process and thankful to all the people who supported me, without them I’d just have one vote next to my name.”

Braun said that she has many plans before the start of the fall semester. In addition to welcoming new members of the SGA, Braun intends to plan the summer retreat where elected students attend workshops to prepare them for student government.

“Over the summer, my biggest goal is going to be to create a club liaison program that better bridges the gap between clubs and the SGA,” Braun said.  “I’m also going to finish up the SGA website which would include all the information necessary to make SGA more transparent.”

Alaimo praised opponent Alex Rodriguez after the announcement of election results last Thursday, saying that Rodriguez is a “great guy who did a great job and ran a great race; I hope he sticks with SGA.”

“I feel great,” Alaimo said in an interview with The Recorder. “I think we have a good team, we’ll work hard and I hope we’ll work together to improve the SGA. I think we’ll do a good job next year.”

Lawrence Wooten defeated Celeste Roche 233 to 122 for the position of Foundations Representative.

The full list of 2011-12 SGA Senators and number of votes received:

At Large: Ryan Sheehan (339), Ryan Baldassario (259), Chelsea Reagan (228), Shelby Dattilo (223), Jamie Canny (206), and Jamie Germaine (193).

Resident: Hannah Pancak (157), Chris Kyle (153), Evan Robbins (131), Matt Hubbard (118), Legairre Radden (110), Aida Fung (94), Heidy Sanchez (78) and Jeremy Truex (73).

Commuter: Asia Smith (70), Molly A. McLaughlin (70), Lawrence Wooten (69), Ivonne Lopez (67), Sasha Savage (67), Ashley Foy (65), Lindsay Jean-Philippe (65), Conrad Meurice (65), Michael Theodore (58), Isamar Rodriguez (54), Shaun Boughton (54), Jessica Lazu (51) and Jennifer Sirois (49).

Four additional senators will be elected during a special election in the fall.

Letter to the Editor: Response to SGA Disinterest

Recently, a student posted an editorial on how the SGA is a sham. This just goes to the show the ignorance that this current student body has on the SGA. Students today feel that the SGA is just a popularity contest. They feel its just about faces on flyers, but it is much, much more than that.

The SGA makes student clubs and organizations run. SGA lends their support to these organizations, funding them, sponsoring activities on campus. The SGA handles tuition money, so students better start caring and getting involved.

If students feel its a sham, then do something about it! Run for an executive position, run for a senate spot and actually do something about it. It is easy to whine and complain, it’s even more difficult to actually go out and do something about it.

While some may disagree, SGA does play a factor in school policy and decision making. They do this through student spots on the faculty senate, which frequently go vacated and empty. This just goes to prove my point, it’s easy for students to complain and bicker about SGA, but it means absolutely nothing unless you actually try and change it.

The biggest problem with the student body is a lack of student involvement and student apathy. I have heard a number of excuses of why people cannot simply go online and vote for the SGA elections, saying “Oh, I’m too busy.” I’ve heard that plenty of times, only to see them surfing the net and going on Facebook hours of a day.

If you feel that the SGA just “takes our money and does whatever they want with it,” then, how about you actually do something about it?

– Matthew Kitson