Student Activities Board oversees budgets for campus organizations

Fanta Sylla, Copy Editor

As students walk through the hallways at the college, many may not be aware of the governing bodies that are a part of the institution. One entity, the Student Activities Board, is a collection of student representatives from organizations throughout the college. These organizations range from athletics to Student Senate and other facets of the college.

“The Student Activities Board is a group of student who decides on how the student activity fee that each 3-credit student pays is spent,” said Renee Alfano, director of Student Life at Madison College.

According to Student Activities Board constitution, the board is responsible for student activity and fees related to student activity. It is a governing board that follows parliamentary procedure. Students pay student activity fees if they take a credit course at a Madison-based Madison College campus. Students who take non-degree courses, refresher courses or community education courses don’t pay the fee.

The board has voted to fund campus initiatives such as the new Health Education building and clinic, the bus pass and campus shuttle services. These fees also pay for the Fitness Center, Volunteer Center and the Yahara Journal. Fees also partially fund Student Life. Other students may pay separately into student activity fees to take advantage of things like the Fitness Center and the GHC clinic at Truax.

As an administrator and a member of the Student Life staff, Alfano is considered a non-voting member of the board. She said her role is to oversee the kinds of activities that are going on and the services that are provided for students throughout the district other than Athletics.

However, Alfano said the Student Activities Board isn’t just a governing body. The funds, the programs and services the student activity fees the board deals with help students connect more and get the full college experience. She said she pays attention to research done on this topic.
“Part of that research that has been proven is that if students feel more connected to the college they are more likely to stay there,” she said.

She also said the monies the board allocates can help student flourish and accomplish their academic goals because they go to things like transportation, basic health care or childcare, which could affect student retention.

Colin Bowden, Student Senate president, is a part of the board as well. As president, one of his duties is to serve as co-chair of the Student Activities Board along with Keith Cornille, a vice president at the college.

Bowden is a non-voting member of the board unless there is a tie. Bowden said the services encouraged by the Student Activities Board connect the student to the campus and  it’s important for students to be engaged and maybe even attend meetings when they have the opportunity.

“We encourage people to get involved (in those meetings) so they can also have to perform oversights themselves over the money that is being spent,” Bowden said. “We’re trying to work hard for students, but it’s critical that folks give us input as it helps the board being more efficient and responsive.”

Every spring, each voting members from the student organizations, proposes a three-year budget plan. The first budget presentation is on Feb. 21. These plans, available on the Madison College’s website, outline the goals for the coming year and the way their funding request are in line with these goals as well as how these goals are reflecting the needs of the student body.

When the board approves of an organization’s plan, the plan has to be approved by the Student Senate. Following senate approval, the plan goes before the district board so it can review and approve these plans as well.

Each Student Activity Board meeting is held at Truax and open to the public. The board’s constitution and bylaws are available at madisoncollege.edu/student-activities-board-sab.