SGA decides students will bear cost of Union upgrades

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Discussion at Thursday night’s Student Governing Association meeting focused on the future of the K-State Student Union. Senators reviewed tentative plans for the Union renovation and debated and voted on Union finances. Other topics included new legislation and changing K-State’s email system.

Chelsea Gerber and Brett Seidl, juniors in mass communications, made a presentation to senators last night on plans for the Union renovation.

“The Union has issues like structural deterioration because not much has been done to the Union since opening in 1956,” Seidl said. “If we don’t take action, the Union will no longer be able to serve students.”

The senators then viewed digital renderings of plans for the new southwest entrance, which will be available to all students on March 25. Students will be able to vote in April on whether they would be willing to pay $20 more in privilege fees to fund Union renovations.

“[Supporting Union renovations is] an opportunity for students to leave a mark on campus,” Seidl said.

The Union finance bills, which were first introduced at last week’s meeting, took up the bulk of Thursday’s meeting, with much debate focused on a bill to increase the Union’s profitability. The Union has functioned at a loss in 9 of the last 10 years.

Cody Kennedy, student senator and junior in education, opposed the bill. Kennedy said it is not the students’ responsibility to pay off Union debts and argued that the Union should reconsider its business model so that it can operate without losing money every year.

“We didn’t want to have to go to the students [to pay for the Union debts],” said Nate Spriggs, student body president and senior in agricultural economics. “We tried other avenues first.”

Bill Smriga, K-State Student Union director and student life representative, said the bill is not what the Union wants, but it is what the Union needs.

The bill passed, along with other bills regarding Union repairs, all of which will lead to an increase in student privilege fees.

All other bills from the last meeting passed as well, including allocations for disability awareness week and the Muslim Student Association. At the next meeting, SGA will vote on legislation including a bill to accept the results of the recent SGA elections and to allocate funds to various academic competition teams.

Grant Hill, student body vice president and senior in accounting, also announced the university’s decision to switch K-State’s email provider from Zimbra Webmail to Microsoft 365. Students will no longer lose their email accounts a year after graduating, and the new service will be implemented in July.

According to Hill, one of the main factors in the university’s choice is that, because most businesses and companies use Microsoft operating systems, Microsoft 365 will keep K-State students ahead of the learning curve in the job market.

SGA will meet again after spring break on March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Big 12 room of the Union.

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