Last week, Santa Fe College Student Senators approved the $120,000 Student Government budget for the 2015-16, including a chunk of money going toward SG travel.
The budget is $53,745 less than last year’s, which is mostly due to the college’s decision last semester to cut directors’ and leadership team members’ pay, SG Treasurer Aadil Muhammad said.
During the budget debate last week at the meeting, senators mainly focused on the $15,625 allocated to SG Developmental Travel.
For about an hour, senators discussed whether the funds — which are $6,625 more than last year — are too much.
The travel budget is divided into two sections. Of the $15,625 total, $12,625 is allocated toward sending SG members to Florida College System Student Government Association conferences, where they can network with other students and colleges.
Senate President Jeremy Pierce argued the money should be invested into the Senate overflow account where he said it would be put to better use by allowing clubs to request more money.
Director of External Affairs Cody Patton said he thought otherwise. While he acknowledges the trips are very expensive, he said it’s a rewarding experience where SG members can make connections with students from other community colleges and meet with state legislators to voice their opinions.
The number of SG members sent on the trip varies, said SG faculty adviser Doug Bagby.
There is a $200-$300 conference registration fee, and hotel prices can reach a couple hundred dollars a night. Members stay at the conferences for three days and two nights, Patton said.
The remaining $3,000 in the travel budget will be used to send the new leadership team members on a team development trip.
Student Body President Austin Browning said when he went on the trip last year in Tampa, he hardly knew his fellow leadership team members.
But by the end, he said, they knew how to work together to overcome obstacles and deal with challenges they’d face in SG.
Despite the problems that hit the current leadership team over the past two semesters, Browning said that without the trip, SG would be in worse condition than it is.
“If you think this (leadership team) was bad, try having a (leadership team) without the leadership retreat,” he said.
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 3/31/2015 under the headline “SFC Senate approves SG budget, including $15K for travel”]