The next meeting of the committee to award funds is Nov. 7.
By Jon Hernandez
Funds collected from the student activity fee for 2019-20 are expected to be $118,419 less than for 2018-19.
The activity fee in the last academic year raised $893,811. For this academic year, the funds are projected to be $775,392, Jacob-Aiden Martinez, director of student life, said Oct. 3.
Students pay $3 per semester hour for the student activity fee each time they register.
“The projected numbers could fluctuate because it’s based on enrollment,” Martinez said. “The difference was because of lower enrollment.”
The office of student life had been operating for seven years with a $16,000 deficit, he said.
He said the staff was not aware that they had carried a negative balance.
The funding for the deficit comes from rollover funds from the previous year.
“We didn’t overspend this year so it should balance out the account,” he said.
He said that from the student activity fee, Phi Theta Kappa, the college honor society received an increase of $20,000 to $50,000.
Collegewide observations —Raza Heritage Month, LGBTQIA History Month, Black History Month and Women’s History Month — receive funds from both the student activity fee and the president’s office.
These committees were given $6,250 each from the president’s fund, he said. Each committee previously received $1,500 from the student activity fee.
“All the programs that we‘ve had had to get cut,” Martinez said.
“In addition, there are new initiatives such as Phi theta Kappa, SACMen, diversity and inclusion programming, health and wellness programming, funds for the health clinic, online and evening programming, first year experience programming, that we are helping fund that we have never helped fund before.”
He said President Robert Vela agreed to help match some of the funding to help make up for the cut.
“A lot of people don’t understand how the budget works, and when their program gets cut, they think we’re doing something fishy with the money, and it is not like that at all,” he said.
Two full-time employees were hired in the office of student life.
The coordinators of student success are Robyn Stassen and Domingo Figueroa.
Stassen does health and wellness programming and is stationed in the student advocacy center.
Figueroa does intramurals and club sports and is located in the student life office in Loftin.
The student activity fee budget for 2019-20 includes $130,000 for clubs and organizations and $55,000 for recreational sports and intramurals.
Other expenses are Experiential learning $15,000, Alamo Institutes activities $40,000, Wellness and Health Promotions $80,500, First Year Experience $49,000, Cultural and Leadership Activities $29,000 and general expenses $376,892.
The amount the Student Activity Fee Committee can award to clubs and organizations that apply is $60,000 for the year.
He said about half of that has been awarded to clubs and organizations.
Funds have been awarded include Early Childhood Studies Club to attend the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children conference $4,431, Society of Professional Journalists to attend the excellence in journalism conference $1,195.
Also, International Students for Weeks of Welcome event $300, Society of Women Engineers to attend the WE Conference 2019 $3,588.16, and Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science to attend the 2019 National Diversity in Stem conference $5,220.96.
“The committee meets every month and they determine the budget,” he said.” “I just make sure we spend it on what the committee agreed to.”
The next meeting will be 3-5 p.m. Nov. 7 in the faculty and staff lounge in Loftin Student Center.
The meetings are the first Thursday of the month.
“The deadline for applications is about five days before the next meeting. Students/employees can access that application any time before the five days prior to the meeting.” he said.
The committee consists of four faculty members and five students.
“I understand how people may be upset about how they’re on one committee and theirs gets cut, but we have so many types of population of students and we want to try to help everybody,” he said.
For more information, call Martinez at 210-486-1208.