The Student Senate plans to spend up to $17,000 to host a one-day event for students that will likely be held during Finals week on Friday, Dec. 14.
“Imagine all the grass on West Campus covered in snow. . . with an ice-skating rink and a hot cocoa station,” Commissioner of Events Mchl Sykes said Friday.
He added that he wanted to film the event to attract graduating high school students to the college and “show them that SBCC knows how to party.”
The person in charge of the senate’s budgets, Senator Kenny Igbechi, had not been informed about the cost of the event until Sykes’ proposal at the senate’s Friday meeting and was the only senator to vote against allocating $17,000 to the event. The money was allocated from the senate’s Activities Fee budget, which might have its revenue reduced by thousands of dollars next year. By approving the money, the senate has decided that this single event can potentially use all of the $15,000 that the group had planned to spend on events for the entire year, as well as 40 percent of its Activity Support funds for the entire year.
Sykes had technical issues preventing him from accessing the document that listed how the money might be spent on each event item, which Igbechi said was another reason he voted against allocating money for the event.
“He’s planning on having a very nice event, but he didn’t provide a breakdown of what the money would be used for,” Igbechi said.
Sykes did obtain access to the document (linked here) later that day. For the most costly items, it estimates that providing snow and ice sculptures will cost $7,000, a stage and a sound system will cost $6,000 and decorating the event with fake pine trees, lights and other accessories will cost $1,000. Sykes emphasized that these were likely overestimates of the true costs and has now decided that using the skating rink will be free, so there will no longer be a need to pay the listed $2,400 fee for supervisors to ensure people pay before using the rink.
Igbechi does not currently have a plan for how the senate will allocate money for events next semester, stating he hadn’t expected a single event to use up $15,000 or more when the Activities Fee budget was first created.
When Igbechi was creating the budgets earlier this year, none of the senate’s advisors gave him advice about how much money should go towards each budget category, so he relied heavily on Senate President Josh Villanueva’s advice.
Amy Collins was the only advisor present during the discussion of Syke’s proposal, and although she made clear Friday was the first time she had heard the event might cost $17,000, she did not give feedback about the cost.
In an interview after the meeting, Collins said that although it’s a very large amount of money, it’s the senate’s job to decide what to do with it.
“It’s being used to engage students and help them de-stress during Finals week, and I support that,” she said.
Although Senate Advisor Christopher Johnson had been present earlier in the meeting, he left the meeting early before Sykes’ proposal, apparently without informing the senate why he was leaving. Student Senate President Villanueva said he did not know why he left the meeting early.
The event has not been approved by the college, but Sykes is confident the event will be approved by Finals week and has been working closely with Jesse Felix, who provides feedback for and confirms many of City College’s events. Felix has told Sykes that the snow and ice rink ideas had been approved by the facilities department and that the event can most likely occur on Dec. 14. Felix also mentioned he still needed to receive an event application form signed by the event’s supervisor, which would likely be one of the senate’s advisors.