By Emily Leayman
Laurel Brandt, Public Affairs chair of Student Government Board, said that many students do not know where the SGB office (MSU 196 near the Alumni Auditorium) is located, so representatives find the students around campus.
“We really have to go out and push ourselves [to find students],” she said.
SGB consists of 33 elected student officials. It oversees the distribution of the Student Activity Fee, which all students pay, gathers student opinions to share with administration and faculty, and informs students of community issues.
SGB is emphasizing many aspects this semester. Their biggest project is getting as many students registered to vote as possible and getting a polling location back on campus. On Sept. 23, SGB assisted with National Voter Registration Day, where students registered through TurboVote.
According to Brandt, over 200 students have registered on TurboVote since the event. SGB is pursuing a lawsuit to get a polling place back in an accessible location for students. Currently, students living on campus, at the Edge and on Kutztown Road near the Airport Diner vote at the Maxatawny Township Building about three miles off campus.
SGB is cooperating with the new Center for Academic Success and Achievement to increase retention of current students. CASA helps students adjust to college academics. With decreasing enrollment becoming a campus-wide concern, SGB is focusing on keeping current students happy.
The board takes a strong stance on obtaining more funding for higher education. Every year, SGB sends some of its representatives and other interested students to Harrisburg for Advocacy Weekend to fight for higher education funding. Among past attendees is SGB President Joe Scoboria.
“We make sure we have a voice there every year,” said Brandt.
Tyler Wuensche, another representative, said that SGB translates any concerns students have to the university. Last year, SGB helped the university keep a five-day exam schedule and implement a new shuttle tracking app. A few representatives also worked with the College of Business to improve grid sheets so students could graduate on time.
Every year, SGB is responsible for determining budgets for student organizations on campus, which are paid for through the Student Activity Fee. At the beginning of the semester, the treasurer—currently Matt Assad—sends out deadlines for the organizations to request a budget. With lower enrollment, the budget becomes smaller every year.
Brandt said that Assad tries to give all organizations the money they need. SGB cuts a budget if an organization does not use all of the past year’s budget money.
“Organizations can’t function at their fullest capacity with a small budget,” Brandt said.
Weekly SGB meetings are on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. in the Formal Dining room (MSU 223). The public is welcome to attend, comment and meet with members at the end.