Former Student Body Vice President Alec Waid said he hopes the allocations of the Activity and Services Recommendation Committee (ASRC) budget will improve the student experience for the next year.
ASRC allocated $17,889,421 according to the budget, compared to $16,871,946 in 2016. As a result of the increase, Waid said there will be less in Student Government’s (SG) reserves next year.
However, he said with these increases, students can look forward to new initiatives and improvements across campus, from increased recreation facilities to parking trackers beginning to pop up around campus.
“Some of the changes might be small, but in the overall student experience I think you’ll see a lot more excitement and I think we’ll reach a lot more students, more students than our events and services have reached in the past,” Waid said.
The biggest increase in funding went to Campus Recreation, which received a total increase from last year of $612,402, giving it a total budget for next year of $3,555,007.
Waid said this money will be used for new equipment related to the two additional facilities in The Well at USF Health and The Fit in the new housing village.
“So, it’s a huge budget increase, but it’s something that we had been watching and working with Campus Rec on for the past couple of years,” Waid said.
Eric Hunter, director of Campus Recreation, said the requested and received money is for materials, equipment and supplies, as well as to secure the salaries for two new full-time positions: facility coordinator and maintenance technician.
The Well Fitness Center opened during the spring semester, and The Fit is scheduled to open in October. Both buildings are about 12,000 square feet with equipment such as free weights, machine weights and cardiovascular machines. The Fit will also have an outdoor pool with locker rooms and offices for the Center for Student Well-Being.
“Primarily, we’ll be focused on fitness,” Hunter said.
The Campus Recreation part will be funded entirely through A&S fees and staffed by roughly six students, Hunter said.
While SG did not go into making the new ASRC budget with an idea to swell funds for student organizations, according to Waid, student organizations overall received $143,742 more this year than last year. Waid said this increase came with a change in the way student organizations are funded.
Previously, student organizations were given $2 a head from SG for events to spend on food, and then had to apply for more funds to purchase other supplies needed such as tablecloths or decorations.
Now, SG will give organizations $4 a head for food and event-related materials, which simplifies the process for student organizations that might have trouble with the process of requesting more money from SG and using SG language to obtain what they want out of their budgets.
“We knew that would increase funding for student organizations a little bit,” Waid said. “We didn’t anticipate it increasing as much as it did, but the more money that our students have to use, the better in my mind.”
Another large boost went to the Marshall Student Center (MSC) with an increase of $171,888 through a newly established fund to help with replacing furniture. Waid said the idea is to give the MSC a similar equipment replacement fund as they have for Campus Recreation.
These funds build up over time, and are continually funded every year with the purpose of saving up for the major purchases needed. This includes new equipment for Campus Recreation and furniture for the MSC.
“The MSC is 8 years old, so a lot of the furniture is getting to its shelf life,” Waid said. “… That was the big source of increase funding for the MSC, something that with the age of the building we have to do.”
The committee worked this year to streamline the process of building the ASRC budget, according to Waid. He said he hopes the process continues to improve over the coming years.
“I think at first, student organizations, similar to the departments and our changes there, were a little confused and worried, but I think at the end of the day they were happy with the changes and … it got the organizations a lot more money.”