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The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

New GAF Strategic Plan examines athletics, transportation options


Students’ Association is currently deliberating the new strategic plan for the General Activity Fee (GAF) in for fiscal years 2020-24.

GAF is a fee charged per credit hour every semester for students. The fee provides funding for the Student Union and student health, athletics and programming. UPC events, theater performances and Wellness Center maintenance are all funded by the GAF.

SA President Allyson Monson said while the GAF doesn’t fund academics on campus, it is integral for students.

“[GAF] is the backbone of campus life in all honesty,” Monson said. “GAF is the thing that students have the most control over and we decide what amenities and what type of life we want here at SDSU.”

SA’s steering committee, responsible for writing this plan, is looking into increased support for athletics and transportation options for students in the Brookings area.

Senior psychology major Nishi Patel serves as a student representative on the steering committee, responsible for creating the GAF Strategic Plan proposal. She said the GAF is likely to increase with the new plan.

“We have some big projects and ideas coming up,” Patel said. “With enrollment being pretty stagnant, it’s likely we would likely have to increase our GAF to get more money to do things we would like to.”

Sen. Nick Lorang is the steering committee chairperson. He announced work groups assigned to investigate athletics facilities and operations, transportation and student life among other things during Monday’s SA meeting.

Lorang indicated GAF funds could potentially be used to support the renovation of Frost Arena and future athletics operations in and around campus like the Wellness Center.

Support for transportation options has been a topic for discussion among SA representatives since the last GAF Strategic Plan. A bus route to and from campus is under investigation by the transportation workgroup, particularly to support international and off-campus students particularly.

The steering committee will hold a survey for which services students are most interested in to help guide the new strategic plan. The survey for the 2016-20 plan concluded students were not interested in bike sharing or bus circulation programs on campus, but interest did exist for a bus route to and from campus.

Last year, GAF was $43.75 per credit hour. Students with 15 credits hours in one semester would have to pay $656.25 for the semester. SDSU currently has the second-highest GAF in the state after the University of South Dakota at $53.65.

The GAF has jumped by almost $16 in the last three years. Monson credits this to the Wellness Center expansion and changes in the enrollment.

“I don’t think we’ll see the $5 raise that we’ve seen in the past,” Monson said. “I think if there is a raise, it will stay minimal for those everyday expenditures and such.”

According to Monson, South Dakota Board of Regent policy requires the GAF never be lowered after being set at a certain rate to avoid stripping funding to campus groups.

The GAF Strategic Plan will be announced by mid-November, after which the plan will go to the South Dakota Board of Regents for review.

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    Edna CabreraSep 12, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    If the committee will approve right GAF plans, this will hopefully help beating enrollment stagnation.