GSB talks funding of Student Union Board


Schuyler Smith/Iowa State Daily

“How many dollars should we spend per student to keep them entertained?” Sen. Hartnett implores GSB to vote no on a bill expanding the SUB budget and making large events less expensive for students. Earlier in the meeting Hartnett asked how much GSB should be willing to spend on such a measure. Proponents of the bill argued that it offered learning opportunities for students organizing the shows.

Michaela Ramm

The Government of the Student Body discussed the possibility of creating a new contract to give more funds to the Student Union Board to fund national events at Iowa State, which was tabled until a contract could be renegotiated.

Samantha McPherson, president of the Student Union Board, and Winston Stalvey, national events director, presented an amended contract to the senators at last night’s meeting that would allow them to have national events, meaning the Student Union Board would host concerts and events on a much grander scale. 

The new contract would give $330,000 to the union each year for the next three years. This would be $130,000 more than its current funds, which stands at $200,000.

The money would be used to plan national events to take place on Iowa State’s campus, which would bring in big name artists and comedians to perform.

About $180,000 would be used strictly to bring in national entertainers.

Stalvey said the organization wants the opportunity to reach as many students as possible.

“When planning events of national events, we want to bring many genres to please the wide range of the students,” Stalvey said. “We want to reach as many students as possible.”

Stalvey said $180,000 was the money that would have been put toward Veishea and said it could be used to improve student experience.

Stalvey said since the Student Union Board keeps student ticket prices at a low rate, the organization does not make enough profit from student tickets to fund other events, and that the union is not able to carry over funds from one semester to the other. Abhijit Patwa, GSB financial director, said he does not remember the union ever being able to carry over any funds because of the high cost of operation. 

McPherson said without a contract with GSB, national events will most likely not take place on campus. The contract will allow the union to have consistent funding for three years. Consistent funding would allow planning in advance because they would be able to book the larger acts that plan almost a year in advance. 

George Micalone, assistant director of the Memorial Union, said the entertainment technique of routing allows entertainment acts to book their trips far in advance to create the most efficient and inexpensive trips.

Stalvey said the union has been unable to book those desired larger acts in the past because they were not able to plan far enough in advance. 

Patwa said it does not look likely the Government of Student Body would fund the contract because it does not have enough money in student fees. 

“In the current financial situation that we are in, we cannot lock in this money for three years,” Patwa said. “With enrollment growth, all organizations are seeing a growth in numbers, so they are eligible for more funding. The student fees haven’t increased yet. It remains $36.75.”

Sen. Richard Hartnett said it would not be appropriate to fund major artists instead of funding educational purposes.

“If we do not have the money in the bank, we can’t send you because other students wanted to see Iggy Azaela,” Hartnett said. “Is our purpose to be popular? We have a responsibility to improve the life of a student and I don’t think seeing a concert improves the life of a student.”

Raghul Ethiraj, junior in aerospace engineering, said Iowa State is more than just an educational institution.

“We take pride in experience, like we would take pride in being a Cyclone,” Ethiraj said. “What people do in college matters and I think concerts matter in that.”

Sen. Michael Snook said it would be fiscally irresponsible to give that amount to the Student Union Board.

“We would have to cut that money from elsewhere,” Snook said. “It’s likely we’d have to cut eligible student organization budgets. I don’t want to be the one to tell the 150 student organizations they cannot attend a conference because we’re having a concert.”

The bill was tabled indefinitely for renegotiation. 

Senators also passed a bill to amend the number of Senate seats on GSB.

Law states one senator must represent every 1,500 students. With the current rate of enrollment, that would increase the number of senators on GSB to 50.

The amendment would cap the number of senators to 36 total for next year. Currently, there are 32 ballots for senate seats.

GSB also passed a law which would require the senators to say the pledge of allegiance before every meeting.