SA leadership judges semester a success

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

For Dan Hansen and Ben Solomon, taking over the reins of the Students’ Association last spring was a definite change, as they lacked Senate experience and had the perspective of being UPC coordinators.

Regardless, Hansen and Solomon have led the SA through a busy fall semester and have received praise from their SA associates for their efforts so far.

Hansen and Solomon had described the student union expansion proposal, the Third B sales tax and the proposed wellness center as their top priorities for the fall semester. They also discussed some other issues SA has dealt with this semester.

Support for the proposed student union expansion was expressed in a SA resolution earlier this semester. The next step is to obtain approval from the Board of Regents at their meeting in Rapid City Dec. 12 and 13.

“We need to convince them that it’s a priority to the students and administration,” Hansen said.

The Third B sales tax is currently a dormant issue. Although a petition drive to place the issue on the November ballot did not succeed, the Third B may be a part of the city’s general election in April.

However, the SA is working toward an agreement with the city of Brookings on the issue. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually a good relationship between SDSU and the city of Brookings, Solomon said.

In addition, the South Dakota Student Federation supports legislation that would exempt student meal plans from the Third B tax. Hansen and Solomon represent SDSU at Student Federation meetings.

The wellness center proposal that had been placed on the back burner for several years was revived recently when administration approached the SA.

The next step is obtaining legislative approval for the project ,as the original legislative authorization for the wellness center ten years ago has since expired.

“There’s enough demand from students to make sure the administration comes through with the wellness center,” Hansen said.

As for the Division I proposal, the Board of Regents will hold a hearing on Dec. 4 in Sioux Falls to hear the differing opinions on the matter.

The hope is for SDSU to team with NDSU in finding a potential DI conference.

The student fee budget looks to be in good shape, primarily due to enrollment growth and fiscal restraint.

One issue that has arisen is need for the SA to repay administration for funding support during the low enrollment period that arose in the late 1990s. The support allowed SA to avoid making major cuts to student activities and services. This deficit, which amounts to approximately $235,000, will result in the administration being paid about $35,000 to $40,000 this year.

“Our administration is great at supporting student programs if we ever have any problems,” Solomon said.

Other issues have been achieving their campaign goals of increasing handicap accessibility and placing computers in Jack’s Place. The Senate passed a resolution supporting handicap accessibility efforts and continual progress has been made by the university. The computers for Jack’s Place have arrived; installation should be done soon.

“Dan and Ben have been doing a great job. This year’s administration has already accomplished a lot including work on handicap accessibility, work on the union expansion, the Division I discussion, the budgeting session, and many other items to help the students,” Administrative Assistant Eric Erickson said.

The top issues for next semester will probably be the union expansion, Division I, and the wellness center.

As for working with the Senate, Hansen said it’s been fun and that there have been many different fresh perspectives due to a high number of new Senators.

He described the SA Senate as being both forward-looking and concerned with the present issues.

“Dan and Ben came into office having a different view of how things work on campus based on their experience being past UPC coordinators. New ideas can only help to improve the quality of the SA,” Ryan Feist, SA finance chair, said.

Senators have generally given President Hansen and Vice-President Solomon’s leadership good reviews.

“I’ve been impressed with certain aspects of the SA leadership; however, there will always be room for improvement, just like any organization,” at-large Senator Emily Hauge said.

“I’m disappointed with the lack of gender diversity on the Executive Board. It’s time for a strong female to step up to the leadership position of our Students’ Association,” she said.

“I think they are on top of things. They know what’s going on,” Ag/Bio Senator Joe Sullivan said.