Campus improvements: brought to students by students

Posted on May 12, 2015

Pavilion repainted

Ellenburg Pavilion

Upgrades to the Galloway Fitness Center, structural repair and renovation of the Ellenburg Pavilion, improvements to the Hangar, and the creation of a study area in the campus police station are among the largest and most visible projects recently funded wholly or in part by an accumulation of “rollover money” from student organizations.

Two outgoing Student Government Association (SGA) officers—Pete Savarese, president, and Ford Blanchard, treasurer—were happy to take a leadership role in the selection of projects.

Blanchard, who chairs the Student Finance Committee (SFC), explained that every student pays a student activity fee, which is used for student organizations on campus. A portion of the funds for student activities had built up in the organization’ accounts “due to organizations not spending the entirety of their approved budgets” as well as “overly conservative projection of revenues by the SFC.”

Ford Blanchard

Ford Blanchard

The budget process for student organizations has now been overhauled, requiring organizations to spend 93 percent of their budgets each year. “Leftover funds will now go to Student Services programs and projects, with SFC having input in those,” Blanchard said.

Meanwhile, last year when the leftover funds were found, SFC “felt obligated to spend them quickly and responsibly, in order to benefit current students as much as possible,” Blanchard said. “We wanted to do capital projects that we could see today and that would benefit students on campus.”

Pete Savarese Student Center crop color corrected

Pete Savarese

The Student Finance Committee worked closely with SGA and the Business Office in making decisions about the use of the funds. SFC consulted administrators in the Business Office, Student Services, and Athletics.

“It was ultimately our decision, but we did seek advice,” Savarese said.

The parameters for projects chosen were that they “must benefit students and must be related to student activities,” he added.

“The Student Finance Committee debated, surveyed, and voted on these projects for three months,” Blanchard said.

Funds contributed toward the Ellenburg Pavilion project were requested by Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Greg Haselden and Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Fund Buddy Ferguson. The Pavilion, requiring roof and structural repair, is used by students as well as alumni groups.

In the Galloway Fitness Center, equipment needed to be refurbished or replaced. There was some concern about whether upgrades to the Fitness Center would “only benefit athletes,” Savarese said, but after monitoring the center for awhile and observing who was using it, “we saw a significant number of students who are not athletes, as well as faculty and staff members.”

New equipment

New equipment has been installed in Galloway Fitness Center.

The center’s upgrade includes the addition of new televisions, treadmill, bike, machines, and weights, but it has produced a cleaner, more open space for workouts. “We have heard countless good things about the gym,” Savarese reports. “It is being used way more than in the past. It’s easier to move around in there.”

Structural and aesthetic renovations to the Hangar, located in the lower level of the Erskine Building, will be capped by a new sound system, Blanchard said.

In the campus police station, now housed in the Younts Infirmary building, the former infirmary waiting area has been repurposed as a study room.

The funds have also been used for a number of smaller projects and purchases, including a sum given to each class to use at the discretion of its class president for Erskine’s 175th anniversary celebration last fall; a treadmill for the workout room in Bonner Hall; a fob reader for the Daniel•Moultrie Science Center; and money given to Student Services toward the acquisition of technology items, such as high-definition camcorders to film campus events.