The USF Student Government (SG) senate met Tuesday night to confirm members to the A&S Recommendation Committee (ASRC), which handles more than $11 million in student–paid Activity and Service (A&S) fees.
Senators Jeff Gao, Nicole Garcia, Khalid Hassouneh, Samantha Toro and Daniel McInerney filled the five seats on the committee and senators Lara McDermott and Lee Farrell will serve as alternates.
ASRC is called into session every year by the student body president, currently Cesar Hernandez, and appropriates the SG annual budget, said senate president Jennifer Belmont. The fees fund all student affairs departments and student organizations on campus – a sum that is larger than the gross domestic product of Zimbabwe, according to the CIA website.
“It’s a very prestigious thing that Florida universities get to do this,” Hernandez said. “Other states do not have any rights over the money. They’re just given a budget like any other department. However, this is a chance for the students to be informed in the budgeting process and have their voices be heard.”
For Toro, a senior majoring in economics and theater arts, part of that responsibility is to make students feel like their input receives the attention it deserves.
“I am so excited,” she said. “I really want to change the ‘bank to customer’ relationship SG has with students, and I want to let student organizations know that SG is here for them and that (this) is a cooperative thing. We all want them to be able to put on their events.”
Garcia, a senior majoring in government and international affairs, said she hopes to decrease the number of A&S- funded events.
“Instead of having several events during the year, (I would like) to bring higher profiles here for entertainment events, even if that means only two or so,” she said. “The money isn’t going to be as inflated as before; the times are gonna change.”
Hassouneh, a junior majoring in chemistry, said his experience on the SG rules committee and as financial officer for several student organizations will help assist in allocating the fees, which increased from $9.31 to $9.99 per credit hour July 1.
“I think the more important aspect that I bring to the table here is the legal, legislative portion of ASRC – you’ve heard how they allocate money, but you haven’t heard of the legal paperwork that goes behind it,” he said. “If the rules don’t make sense, the allocation of the money isn’t going to go smoothly.”
Gao and McInerny were unavailable for comment.
The senators will serve on the committee, a paid position, for the entire academic year.