In the spirit of spending student money wisely, the Student Government Association deliberated Monday about a topic previously considered trivial: SGA polos. Currently, each SGA member is provided a student-funded polo that the individual may choose to keep if they leave SGA, funding provided by SGA’s $75 per semester student fee.
Though most senators originally deemed such a discussion a waste of time, SGA Executive Vice President Brad Stanton pointed out why a revision of current policies may be necessary.
“We spend about $2,000 of the students’ money on polos every year,” Stanton said during Monday’s meeting. “My concern is always trying to spend student money appropriately and I’m not sure that much money on shirts is the way to do that.”
Stanton expresses concern that students often join SGA and receive a free SGA polo, but leave as soon as they are given the shirt.
“They are here for two meetings; they get a polo; we pay $30,” Stanton said.
Rather than giving polos to students for free, Stanton and SGA President Ida Haefner suggest a rental program for members.
“If you are a senator, you get a polo and at the end of the year, you have the option of returning the polo or buying it at half price,” Stanton said.
The plan would allow SGA to cut down on funds lost to those students who are members for a short period of time.
But Senator Cierra Edwards presented concerns with the utility of the Stanton-Haefner proposal.
“How would we— except for an honors system— make someone return the shirt, if they quit at semester?” Edwards asked. “Also, every two years or so, the polos are redesigned; keeping old polos doesn’t make much sense.”
Rather than having a rental system, Edwards suggested having SGA members pay for their own shirts; a proposal that Haefner agreed made sense.
“Yes, you guys have come into SGA as volunteers; but you also volunteer in other organizations where you pay fees,” Haefner pointed out. “ I wouldn’t have a problem with paying the $30 for my polo.”
However, this secondary proposal was met with opposition from senators as well as Vice President for Student Affairs Shana Meyer.
Meyer’s main concern was with the limiting effect that a fee for participation could create.
“I think any time you put qualifications onto a positions— like things that costs students money— you set up little roadblocks and barriers,” Meyer said, after the meeting. “I would probably be opposed to doing anything that would be an upfront fee to students.”
In fact, Meyer opposed any change to the current system, suggesting that the polos have to be thought of as an investment; not a loss.
“At most, we’re losing about $250 a year from students leaving SGA,” Meyer said. “I think we’ve forgotten that we’re spending that $2,000 a year on marketing and branding. They’re a good way for other students to know who their representatives are.”