The first meeting of theStudent Fees Advisory Committee will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb 12. in Research and Innovation 1.102 on the Edinburg campus. It will serve as an orientation for the new appointed members.
Previously known as the Student Affairs Advisory Committee at the University of Texas Pan American, the SFAC gathers on an annual basis to provide guidance to UT Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey on allocating student service fees.
Every year, a total of nine voting members are selected for the committee–five students and four university representatives–by Student Government Association President Alberto Adame and the Student Fees Advisory Committee Chair Michelle Alvarado. Adame considers SFAC to be the second most important student committee next to the SGA because a large sum of the student body’s money is in their hands.
“I always look for people that … care a lot [about] what’s going on at the university and they’re at least involved universitywise or in their college,” Adame said. “[I look for] people that I know that are going to be responsible and committed to the committee.”
On average, the student fees amount to $12.5 million and the SFAC decides where the funding will go and how much each department will receive. Earlier this year, a notice was sent out to the university for possible budget requests–all of which were due Jan. 22. Alvarado works with the nine members and reviews the total requests, analyzes how much money is available and prioritizes the money accordingly.
“That’s where all the fun part begins,” Alvarado said. “‘What will the impact be? What do wethink the number of students served by this initiative will be? Will they have other places for revenue?’ Those are the types of discussions that’ll be [held] as far as who gets priority over the funding and all those considerations.”
UTRGV student Alejandra Gonzalez trusts the committee to handle the money well enough since the members are representing the student body. However, for as long as she’s been here, Gonzalez hasn’t noticed renovations to the Arts and Humanities Building on the Edinburg campus. It’d be nice to put some money towards this department, she said.
“I understand that this is one of the older buildings, but they’re currently undergoing renovations for the health buildings,” the spanish major said. “If you take a closer look, majority of the [STEM field majors] have nice buildings such as the engineering and science buildings. I just think we don’t seem to matter as much to the university as art majors. … It’d be nice to renovate ARHU.”
The date, hour, location and subject for every SFAC meeting will be released 72 hours prior to the session. The notices will be placed on its website, as well as in future issues of The Rider. The meetings are open to the public and will take place every Friday until the end of March.
Each session requires five members to be present for voting, including at least one university community member. Once the committee has completed the recommendations, it will be sent to Bailey for approval.