Sunday, September 25, 2011

SGA's 2011-2012 Budget

Note: An analysis of this budget and others that are funded through fees paid by University of Memphis students can be found in a series written last year by The Daily Helmsman's Chelsea Boozer

2011-2012 Budget Overview
General Operations $12,456
Executive Expenses $43,410
Student Travel $90,000
SGA Election $2,500
Freshman Senate $1,500
Basketball Homecoming $10,000
Mr. and Ms. U of M $3,000
SGA Contributions $9,500

Total 2011-2012 Proposal $172,366
Total Allotted   $175,000

General Operations
Publicity/Campus Relations $4,000
Summer Retreat $4,000
Office Supplies $1,000
Shirts $1,000
Notebooks $1,200
Printing/Copying $500
Fixed Expenses $756
Total: $12,456

Executive Expenses
Tuition $29,560
Stipends $11,250
Parking $600
TN Travel $2,000
Total $43,410

Student Travel
Travel Reimbursement $90,000
Total $90,000

SGA Election
Advertising $2,500
Total $2,500

Freshman Senate
Shirts $1,000
Supplies $500
Total $1,500

Basketball Homecoming
Advertisement $2,000
T-Shirts $2,000
Entertainment $6,000
Total $10,000

Mr. and Ms. U of M
Scholarships $1,000
Flowers, Crowns, Supplies $1,000
Advertising $1,000
Total $3,000

SGA Contributions/Sponsorships
Dreamers Thinkers Doers Scholarship $1,500
TISL Registration, Travel $6,000
Multicultural Festival Co-Sponsorship $2,000
Total SGA Contributions/Sponsorships $9,500

Total SGA Budget 2011/2012 $172,366

2011-2012 Tiger Readership Program Budget Proposal

USA Today Collegiate Readership Program Fee $85,000
Total Tiger Readership Budget $85,000

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SGA, Athletic Department secures student tailgating lot for first game

By Chelsea Boozer, The Daily Helmsman

A newly secured tailgating lot for students may change the atmosphere at Thursday night's first home football game.

The Student Government Association, in a partnership with The University of Memphis Athletic Department and other student organizations, helped contract a 300-space parking lot adjacent to Tiger Lane on the southwest side of the Liberty Bowl stadium exclusively for students.

The idea, according to Athletic Director R. C. Johnson, is to obtain the lot for every home game through private donations. So far, he's only obtained enough donated money to pay for the lot for the first game. The Athletic Department will have to pay $3,000 per game to the City of Memphis to use the lot.

"For six home games, that would mean a total of $18,000," he said. "This is not the best time to be out raising money, but we went all out for this first game to try to do it."

SGA President Tyler DeWitt said his objective is to improve the student experience and increase student attendance to games. He said the record for student attendance at a game was 4,100 in 1996 when the Tigers toppled a University of Tennessee team led by Peyton Manning. DeWitt's goal is to beat that record at Thursday's game, he said.

"It's really time that we bring that environment back. This is our team. This is our city. This is our University. This is about taking pride in our University, our football program, and changing that environment," DeWitt said.

Thursday, when the Tigers take on Mississippi State, the lot meant for tailgating will be open for a certain number of students and Registered Student Organizations to get their pregame party started.

DeWitt said that the SGA is in charge of allocating the spots and have set aside certain portions to the three Greek councils so that "some of our more motivated students are in attendance and will be able to tailgate."

The next priority was given to Registered Student Organizations. An email was sent out last week offering them spots where their members could tailgate and "build a sense of community," DeWitt said.

DeWitt also emailed the general student body to notify them of open spots for individual students.

If the funds are secured, whoever gets the spots at the first game will keep them for the remainder of the season. However, even if a student doesn't acquire a spot in the lot, they and their friends are free to hang out in the tailgating area.

"We don't want 300 cars in it," DeWitt said. "This is for tailgating. We are really just trying to change the atmosphere of our football games."

He said about 20 or more spots will be left open for a general area for special events, where freshmen students participating in Frosh Frenzy, an opportunity to rush the field on the first home game, will gather pre-game Thursday. In the future, the area will be used for other pre-game activities like at football homecoming.

Liberty Bowl security personnel will be in the lot, monitoring drinking and general tailgating activities.

Only those given a pass by the SGA will be allowed by security to park in the lot. SGA representatives will check each game to see if that student or organization is using their spot at games.

"We will check every single game, and if you are not using your spot or you're violating rules, we reserve the right to revoke your spot," DeWitt said.

The SGA, Student Activities Council and the Blue Crew will hold a mini pep rally during the RSO Fair today at 3 p.m. on the University Center Alumni Mall.

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011-12 SGA team prepares for back-to-school

This weekend, August 12-13, members of The University of Memphis's Student Government Association's senate and executive board will partake in the organization's annual retreat at For the Kingdom Camp in Raleigh, Tenn.

The camp, located at 4100 Raleigh-Millington Road, is roughly 25 minutes from The University of Memphis's main campus.

Attendees will spend the two days brainstorming ideas, revising bylaws, training and having their first senate meeting. U of M basketball coach Josh Pastner and other University administrators will be involved in a guest panel Saturday.

The retreat begins 2:00 p.m. Friday and continues to 4:00 p.m Saturday.

Tentative Schedule, as provided by SGA President Tyler DeWitt.
Friday, August 12
1:00 Depart U of M
2-2:30 Opening remarks/icebreaker(s)
2:30-4:30 Senate By-Laws Revision Committee
4:30-5:30 Parliamentary Procedure Workshop
5:30-6 Break
6-7 Dinner
7 - 7:30 Break (change into business professional)
7:30 - 8:30 Senate Meeting
8:30 - 10 SGA open mic/fun time

Saturday, August 13
9-10 Breakfast
10-11 Committee Brainstorming Session
11-12 Guest Panel Discussion (University administrators)
12-1 Lunch
1-2:30 Pool Break
2:30-3:30 Bill Flow Workshop
3:30-4 Closing Remarks/depart back to U of M

Monday, July 25, 2011

Update from SGA President -- Summer 2011

This was an email to Daily Helmsman staffer, Chelsea Boozer, updating her on what SGA President Tyler DeWitt has been working on over the summer. The SGA President is in constant meetings during the summer term in order to prepare for the school year. Note: Anything enclosed in brackets [ ] was added by Boozer for clarification. Otherwise, these are the words of President DeWitt.

Sent: July 12, 2011

First, as you are aware, tuition has increased by 11%. And part of that increase is the $5 activity fee (per semester) that was approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) in order to fully fund the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program. In other words, the readership program (which will be called "The Tiger Readership Program") is here to stay forever.

Also, I have been doing some preliminary research into bringing a Redbox movie/game rental kiosk on campus. The possibility of us doing this is pretty high so I'd like to have one at least in the UC by this Fall. But more on that later.

SGA also revised the SGA election laws at our constitutional convention held June 4th. The newly revised copy can be found at under "legal documents". Speaking of our website, we changed that as well. The entire format of the SGA website has been changed and divided into the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches. Additionally, all minutes, bills, and agendas are readily accessible and have been promptly posted on our website, including the minutes from our Constitutional convention.

This Friday, Rachel [Goodwin, SGA Vice President] and I will participate in the Student Activity Fee Allocation committee where we will determine the amount of funding given to various organizations and departments that applied for funding. This includes the SGA budget which I will release upon approval from the SAF allocation committee. SGA has also been represented on the Green Fee Committee as well as the Civility campaign committee (bringing civility on campus).

One major area SGA has been working in has been athletics. Over the summer, I have set up 3 meetings (having another one tomorrow)[July 13, 2011] between SGA, our athletic director (and the athletics marketing team), [Student Activities Council] SAC, greek councils, and Blue Crew. These meetings were called in order to provide student imput as to how the athletics department can improve the overall gameday experience, primarily for football. As a result, we have set a goal to reach 5,000 students at our first home game against Mississippi State. To put this into perspective, the U of M has never reached 5,000 students at a home game which is absolutely inexcusable. So, FREE t-shirts will be given to all u of m students at the game! Also, we are working with athletics to move student tailgating to the Colliseum parking lot (right across from the student entrance to the liberty bowl) which will improve the number of students who actually go into the stadium instead of just hanging out down the street in Toby park. We are also planning pep-rallies and incentives for Greek attendance at athletic events. I will let you know final details as they are made.

Finally, SGA will be having its annual retreat August 12th-13th at For the Kingdom Camp. We will be introducing Senators to parliamentary procedure/bill writing while also learning more about the inner workings of the University of Memphis. A guest panel of administrators, faculty, and staff will be at the retreat to discuss issues affecting the U of M that SGA should be aware of. Of course, there is an open invitation for you to come and observe/take pictures/report/whatever you want to do at the retreat.

I hope I didn't write too much! I just get excited about this stuff! Anyways, I hope your summer has been great. Give me a call or email if you have any questions!

Tyler H. DeWitt
Student Government Association

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Executive Board and Committees Announced

The Student Government Association executive board for the 2011-2012 academic year is as follows:

President - Tyler DeWitt
Vice President - Rachel Goodwin
Speaker of the House - Riccardo Hicks
Speaker Pro Tempore - Jordan Wells
Chief Justice - Joshua Jackson
The clerk and parliamentarian have yet to be decided

--The above students were each elected by the student body, excluding the chief justice. The president and vice president positions are chosen by the students, however the remaining positions are either chosen by the senate itself or a committee composed of the previous executive board and others.--

The SGA's committees and chairpersons for the 2011-2012 academic year are as follows:

Student Services
Michelle Neal - Chair
William Flynn – Co-Chair

Alexandria Carter
John Stevenson
Nicole Jones
Nuria Espin
Elizabeth Stewart
Caray Oldham
Michael Casey

Campus Safety
Gurshan Bansal - Chair
Alex Roubidoux – Co-Chair

Hunter Dawson
Sarah Noor
J.C. Griggs
Matt Coker

LaDarius Millen - Chair
Elease Benson- Co- Chair

Victoria Busse
Kaylee Willis
Chris Taylor
Jade Anderson

Cody Fernandez- Chair
Ben Giannini- Co-Chair

Katy Murphy
Andrew Smith
Aaron Blackstone
Brittney Downs

Courtney Clark - Chair
Erica Peoples – Co-Chair

Stacie Rose
Erica Chambers
Cynthia Gamboa

These committees have distinct jobs within the SGA and put on events throughout the year.

2011 SGA Awards

Annually, the Student Government Association acknowledges those who have stood out within the senate. This year's awards went to:

Presidential Leadership
Courtney Milton - Senator of the year
Michelle Neal - Committee Chairman of the Year

Executive Board Honorable Mention
Tyler DeWitt
Michelle Neal
Courtney Milton

Hunter Lang's last words to the student body (sic)

I would like to take this opportunity to say what a pleasure it has been to serve as your 61st Student Body President. Over the past year, the 61st General
Assembly has accomplished more than ever before. Just at the start of taking office we were successful at getting the library opened, and shortly thereafter we saved over 1,000 seats at the FedEx Forum for our men's basketball games. We have come a long way, passing nearly 70 senate bills, and making more changes than ever before. I am proud to be in a category with what are now 62 other students who can say they served their University in the highest student position possible.

This past week has been a delight for me, and speaking on behalf of my party, we truly enjoyed reaching out to students, talking about different issues on campus, and building positive bonds. Although I have some issues with the way the election was publicized in the Daily Helmsman, I would just like to recommend that in future elections, the editor will consider the possibility of two reporters (one for each party) so the paper will not come off as biased in anyway.

Not a lot of what I ever wanted to say made it into the paper, and I have to consider the likelihood of the negative headlines swaying the 154 votes, which made the difference in this election. That being said, this is the last comment I will be making to the Daily Helmsman as your SGA President, and I hope that they will respect my wish to have this published in the paper.

I would like to congratulate Tyler Dewitt and Rachel Goodwin, as well as all the senators from both parties who were elected into the 62nd General Assembly. As I said I know that SGA will continue to grow, and I wish them the best of luck for the 2011/2012 school year.

This past year I have made connections, built relationships, and made changes that this University has never seen before. It has been an astounding experience that I would never trade for any other in my life. I would like to thank my friends, my family, my running mate, Courtney Milton, and 60th General Assembly President James Johnson, who has mentored me from the very start of my experience in SGA as a Senator from the College of Communication and Fine Arts.

Although the amount of work that goes into this position has filled all aspects of time, I have zero regrets, and would do it all again if I could. I am truly humbled, and privileged to have been given this honor over the past year.

For the last time,
Go Blue, Go Gray, Go Tigers!

Hunter J. Lang
Student Government Association
61st General Assembly

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DeWitt defeats Lang for SGA presidency

By Chelsea Boozer
The Daily Helmsman

Photo by Aaron Turner, The Daily Helmsman
SGA President Hunter Lang and President-Elect Tyler DeWitt react to student body election results, presented in a closed meeting in the University Center at 3 p.m. Friday. Lang will retain his position until April 14.

Tyler DeWitt was elected president of the Student Government Association in last week's SGA election, defeating incumbent president Hunter Lang by 154 votes. DeWitt's party, United Students, won 22 of the 36 offices elected.
Students also approved a referendum that will increase student fees by $5 during the 2011-'12 school year. The increase will fund the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program and provide more funding for registered student organizations and recreational centers on campus.
Newly elected SGA President DeWitt and Vice President Rachel Goodwin, DeWitt's running mate, were greeted with congratulations by a small crowd of peers and faculty Friday evening after election results were announced during a closed-door University Center meeting.
"I was very happy with the turnout we had (in voters)," DeWitt said. "And though it is a very happy time for the United Students party and everyone elected, it is also a great responsibility for the United Students party and everyone who was elected because we promised accountability and also results, so it's our duty to make sure we are true to our word, and we model the way of the student body."
Lang shook DeWitt's hand at the close of the meeting and wished him well.
Voter turnout declined by 511 votes this year from last year's all-time recorded high of 2,610. But with 2,099 students voting, the election still saw the second-highest voter turnout in the SGA's recorded history.
"I was very happy to see the vote total exceed 2,000 voters again this year," SGA Election Commissioner Anthony LaRocca said. "The drop in voters from last year may be a result of less aggressive campaigning by the parties or a lack of major controversy amongst the candidates. However, the main takeaway is that we have been over 2,000 voters for the second year in a row, and interest in the SGA is very high."
The highest number of votes this year came from students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law had the lowest number of students who voted, with only 13. These numbers were similar in 2009 and 2010.
The student fee referendum was approved by a wide margin: 535 voted yes, and only 147 voted no.
In a statement released to The Daily Helmsman, Lang thanked his supporters for a year of "reaching out to students, talking about different issues on campus, and building positive bonds" during his tenure as SGA President.
Though Lang was critical of reporting on his campaign, saying, "Not a lot of what I ever wanted to say made it into the paper, and I have to consider the likelihood of the negative headlines swaying the 154 votes, which made the difference in this election," he also said was grateful for his time in office.
"It has been an astounding experience that I will never trade for any other in my life," Lang said.
Fourteen students who ran for SGA office under the FACE party were also elected. However, representatives of the party must pay $350 before those elected can take office, as ordered by the student court, which fined FACE for improperly placing campaign posters on doors, trash cans, trees and other organizations' yard signs.
Lang's full statement can be read here.

The Votes Are In - DeWitt Wins

Photo by Aaron Turner, The Daily Helmsman
Presidential Candidates Hunter Lang (front left) and Tyler DeWitt (back left) wait anxiously for the 2011 election results.

Tyler DeWitt (US)
Vice President
Rachel Goodwin (US)
College Senator for Arts and Sciences:
Victoria Busse (US)
Ben Giannini (FACE)
Cynthia Gamboa (FACE)
Jordan Wells (FACE)
Alex Roubidoux (FACE)
College Senator for Business and Economics:
Andrew Smith (US)
Joseph Casey (US)
James Flynn (US)
Courtney Clark (FACE)
College Senator for Communication and Fine Arts:
Alexandria Carter (FACE)
Elease Benson (FACE)
College Senator for Education:
Stacie Rose (US)
Michelle Neal (FACE)
College Senator for Engineering:
Cody Fernandez (US)
College Senator for School of Nursing:
Nicole Jones (US)
College Senator for University College:
Brittney Downs (US)
Sarah Noor (FACE)
Senators at Large:
Matt Coker (US)
Erica Peoples (US)
Emily Gianella (US)
Aaron Blackstone (US)
Jade Anderson (US)
Hunter Dawson (FACE)
Erica Chambers (FACE)
John Stevenson (US)
Gurshan Bansal (US)
Nuria Espin (US)
J.C. Griggs (FACE)
Caray Oldham (US)
Chris Taylor (US)
Kaylee Willis (US)
Elizabeth Stewart (US)
LaDarius Millen (FACE)
Katy Murphy (FACE)
Riccardo Hicks (FACE)

There can be only one: FACE party's campaign video counts down to SGA election finale

By Chelsea Boozer
The Daily Helmsman

The Finding Answers Concerning Everyone party used more than flyers and campaigning booths to attract voters in this year's Student Government Association election.
For the second year in a row, FACE promoted itself on the web, using YouTube and social media sites in the hope of taking the party's views viral.
In a video posted to Facebook and YouTube on Tuesday night, several members of The University of Memphis men's basketball team endorsed the FACE party and its presidential and vice presidential candidates, Hunter Lang and Courtney Milton. Men's basketball coach Josh Pastner is also featured, saying that he supports the SGA.
FACE posted a similar clip on the web last year. That video premiered the rap song "Vote for FACE" and featured dance moves by Lang and basketball player Will Coleman. This year's video featured ‘80s glam rock hit "The Final Countdown" by Swedish band Europe as background music.
"That's an epic song, and I thought it would be funny because it's the final countdown to the election and my presidency," said Lang, reigning SGA president. "This is the last year I'll be able to do anything like that (because I'm a junior), so it is my final countdown. I thought the song fit the circumstances."
In the video, Coleman and teammate Drew Barham work out in the Larry O. Finch Recreational Facility and read newspapers available on campus thanks to the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program, implemented by the SGA and spearheaded by Lang.
"Well you know, if you vote yes on the referendum (concerning a $5 increase in the Student Activity Fee) and vote for Hunter Lang and Courtney Milton, it could definitely maximize the potential of this weight room and get more money for student activities and keep getting these wonderful papers on campus for free," Coleman tells Barham as they lift weights.
In the next scene, Lang and Milton cast their votes for FACE in the Ned R. McWherter Library, a designated polling station during the election, which ended Thursday.
"I wanted to shed a light on all of the campaigning and make something comical and put information in it at the same time," Lang said.
Basketball player Tarik Black also guest-stars in the video and endorses FACE.
Lang wrote the storyboard for and directed the video, but the basketball players' lines were improvised, he said. Pastner walked into the Finch Center during filming and agreed to support SGA as a whole at Lang's request.
Freshman civil engineering major Joey Clark served as the project's videographer, and junior communications major Cameron Mitchell edited the piece, which was shot and edited in one day and posted online.