Three referenda on upcoming ballot

In two years, the student activities fee could be raised by $6.50.

In addition to voting for the new Student Government (SG) executive board and senators next week, students will also have the opportunity to vote on three referenda that may raise the student activities fee.

The three new referenda that have been placed on the ballot may provide more funding for the Committee on Student Organizations (COSO), Distraction Magazine and the Green U initiative for SG. Placement on the ballot was contingent upon each organization collecting 500 student signatures on a petition, which were later verified by SG.

Last semester, students were given the option to vote on a referendum to raise the student activity fee by $1 so the money could be used by Student Government (SG). The referendum was passed, and the student activity fee was then raised.

Each of the referenda up for vote this semester seeks a similar increase.

COSO has requested that the student activity fee be raised by $0.50 which will be used to provide resources for student organizations and to recognize their achievements. COSO is the organization responsible for hosting Canefest, the Spring Involvement Fair, Rumble on the Green, student organization workshops and a variety of other events.

Current SG President Christina Farmer said she supports the COSO referendum.

“It’s a very little [monetary] increase but it’s monumental what they’ll be able to do with the money,” current SG President Christina Farmer said. “The great thing about the COSO referendum is that all students go to events that organizations put on, and organizations need sufficient support from COSO.”

The ballot also contains a referendum for Distraction Magazine. If it passes, the student activities fee will be raised by $1. The magazine, which was started in spring 2008, is a fairly new publication for the student body that is currently being funded by the School of Communication and ad sales. Due to recent budget cuts, however, the editors believe that additional funding is needed for the magazine’s survival.

According to Heather Carney, Distraction’s editor in chief, if this referendum is passed, Distraction would be published quarterly and perhaps even three times per semester in the future. As it is, they are usually published once a semester.

“Both the newspaper and the yearbook on campus are funded through referendum money as well, it’s the next step for Distraction so  it can become more financially stable,” Carney said.

The third and final referendum that will be placed on the ballot is the Green U initiative for SG. This initiative will raise the student activities’ fee by $5.

“Green U initiatives has been one of SG’s top platforms this year and in the past so it’s important for students to decide how important these referenda are to them,” Farmer said.  “Students need to make sure to vote for presidential tickets, referenda and senators after informing themselves about the issues.”

Stephanie Parra may be contacted at