Last night Florida Gulf Coast University’s Student Government voted on two bills that added up to $73,658.
The first was a multifaceted bill asking for $67,133 to fund Alternative Spring Break, a mobile application to track University transportation, and an initiative to buy a number of required calculators for students to rent from the library.
This year’s budget did not include money for Civic Engagement’s annual Alternative Spring Break trip, which takes a set number of students to a surprise location for the duration of their spring break to complete a service project.
Since 2008, Alternative Spring Break has been a free opportunity for students who were selected through a competitive application process. This year, no money was allocated for the program, which meant that SG would have to fund the necessary $42,000.
The executive branch of SG compiled two initiatives into one and added it to the Civic Engagement bill. Their vision was to buy 120 calculators that are required in certain math classes and make them available for students to rent from the library. The three types of calculators chosen for the bill were 20 graphing calculators, 50 financial calculators and 50 scientific calculators. Combined they would cost $5,472.40.
The mobile application is designed to track the shuttles that run from North Lake and South Villages to main campus. The initial start-up cost is $11,000, with a $700 monthly fee. The bill proposed that SG pay for the first year of the application’s use, which totals $19,660.
After the first year, University Police is supposed to pay for the monthly fee. Many senators voiced that the Civic Engagement portion of the bill should be separated from the calculator and mobile app initiatives because they didn’t want to see Alternative Spring Break get cancelled if the bill didn’t pass.
With a vote of 24-2, the senators split the bill into two, making Civic Engagement funding separate. Afterwards, the $42,000 for Alternative Spring Break was approved in a vote of 25-1, and the calculator and mobile app initiatives were not passed. Immediately after, senate approved a bill to allocate $6,525 to the Mixed Martial Arts Club in order to fund equipment and a $2,000 facility fee.
Juan Cubillo, student body president, was disappointed in the senate’s decision to dismiss funding that he felt would directly benefit students.
“It’s unfortunate that senate couldn’t support the funding of calculators. They cost extra, so this could have relieved students pockets,” Cubillo said. “As for the mobile app, we live in a technological world. Students go crazy over where the shuttle is, so I feel this would be beneficial.”