SFRC hears department funding requests for new fiscal year

(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)
(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)

The 2013-14 fiscal year brought many changes to Weber State University. Changes to improve WSU included everything from inaugurating the new president, Charles Wight, to drastically altering the skyline with construction additions to the Stromberg Complex and the Weber County Sports Complex.

Funding through student fees accomplished most of these projects and improvements. Every fiscal year in January and February, departments and organizations present their requests before the Students Fee Recommendation Committee in hopes of increasing their yearly budgets or obtaining funding for one-time requests to accomplish projects.

For the 2014-15 fiscal year, the SFRC must allocate a total of $202,534. Of that total, $25,000 is solely purposed for one-time funding requests, and $177,534 is meant for base budget increases. However, the total amount of money requested for departments is a base increase of $257,538, with one-time requests totaling $39,910.

Last year, the committee originally stated its allocation would total no more than $210,000, but due to some organizations needing to receive their entire requested amounts, their requests were acquiesced. There is no inclination of whether that will be the case with this year’s committee.

With major projects on the mind of most department heads, the department asking for the largest increase this year is the Shepherd Union Building. According to Bill Fruth, the director of the Shepherd Union, the money allocated would be used to fund a new project known as the Money Management Center. This center, if funded, would be housed in the Shepherd Union and provide students with financial services, as well as providing accounting students with experience and possible internships.

The WSU Athletics Department is also hoping for a large amount of student fee money. The department is asking for $41,000 to fund a salary for a part-time athletic trainer.

Among the other organizations making sizable requests is the UTA Ed Pass program for $30,000, the Nontraditional Student Center for $22,165, and KWCR with a one-time request of $18,392 to move the radio transmitter back up to campus. Last year, KWCR requested a one-time amount of $35,000 for the same project of moving the transmitter antenna. However, the 2013-14 committee did not allot it financing.

Last year, WSU Campus Recreation received $199,728 to fund 30 new positions required to run the new expansion in the Stromberg Complex. It also received a one-time fee of $2,000 to purchase new racing equipment. This year, the department is making a request for $9,625 to help continue supporting the new staffing hours, as well as funding security equipment and communication radios.

The debate team, which has seen great success over the years as WSU has hosted national tournaments, was granted a base budget increase of $1,804 last year to offset increasing travel costs. This year, Omar Guevara, WSU’s director of forensics and the debate team adviser, is asking for a similar amount of $1,856, also for travel costs.

The WSU Department of Performing Arts is requesting a base increase of $17,500 and a one-time allotment of $3,255 to fund a new technical director and pay for Browning Center security, as well as a potential new program that would bring piano artists and teachers from around the world to WSU to benefit student learning.

The Center for Community Engaged Learning is requesting the sum of $3,200 to fund scholarship positions within the department.

The computer labs are looking to purchase additional laptops and printers for student use and are requesting a $4,185 base increase.

Counseling and Psychological Services, although not requesting any more student fee money, is requesting to move around its budget to fund its emergency psychological account. This account specifically pays for students to receive extra therapy hours with a psychologist.

The customer service department within the Stromberg Complex is requesting a base increase of $4,500 to assist with increased staffing hours due to the expansion.

The Davis Learning Center received a yearly increase of $9,000 for a receptionist position, but this year is asking for an increase of $10,850 to fund a writing tutor supervisor as well as a travel budget for conferences.

Davis Student Services is requesting to increase student awareness with an increase of $6,000 and a one-time request of $2,600 to fund service advertising and a new copy machine utilized by different organizations at Davis campus.

Due to the rising costs of medical supplies, the Student Health Center is requesting an $11,500 budget increase. The center also wishes to transfer the pharmacy to an electronic system that would streamline procedures.

The Multicultural Center is requesting new furniture and a one-time fee of $5,000. During its presentation to the committee, department staff passed around photos of “soiled” chairs and desks in hopes of swaying the committee to provide funding.

Student Involvement and Leadership is requesting $15,000 to help fund the Block Party as well as the art gallery in the Shepherd Union Building.

The Office of Undergraduate Research, which has been paying for graduate students to present at conferences, is asking for a one-time fee of $4,163 to help offset these costs. The requested money is also meant to enhance undergraduate research at WSU.

The USA Today Collegiate Readership Program is seeking a base increase of $2,500 to provide more displays and newspaper bins for the school year.

Veterans Services is requesting a one-time increase of $6,500 for staffing positions and a new computer program designed to help keep veterans in school.

The department of visual arts was awarded a one-time increase of $15,000 to create a film and lecture series last year and is requesting a base increase of that same amount to continue the film series this year.

Among organizations not requesting any student fee money are The Signpost, the children’s school, Services for Students with Disabilities, Mock Trial and Ethics Bowl, Metaphor, WSU Sustainability, Studio 76 and the Women’s Center.

Editor’s note: The Signpost assistant news editor Rosie Gerrish is a sitting member of the SFRC but did not contribute to the report.