USG hopes to connect with students on a deeper level

By paying the mandatory student activity fee, SUNY Buffalo State students are helping to fund a million-dollar organization.

It is possible that not all students actually know what they are paying for with the required fee. The United Students Government is the organization that uses money from the activity fee. In turn, the money is used to create on-campus events that everyone can go to and enjoy.

The weekly movie night that is held in the Student Union, the USG phone charging stations in the student union and library, and the annual Springfest are just a few things that USG makes possible for Buffalo State students.

“We try to make events that can incorporate everyone,” USG vice treasurer Aaron Santiago said. “One of our goals is to bring more commuters to campus instead of just going to class and going home.”

USG vice president Adonis Kernen said he is particularly concerned with connecting with students on a deeper level. He said that understanding the student body would be a major step in creating a better, more effective student government.

“We are here for the students,” Kernen said. “Without them we don’t exist, so my sole mission is to best serve the students. We need to know what their aspirations are, what they see that are concerns and problems.”

Kernan said he wants to bridge the communication gap.

“I feel like there’s such a disconnect from people,” Kernan said. “I see it, I experience it.”

USG wants to be an organization that is synonymous with the student body. Through creating and approving events, USG is able to discover what the student body consists of. Surveys have worked in the past, but Kernan wants to go a step deeper by actually engaging students in conversations.

In an effort to bring students together, USG pays special attention to clubs that have events with the potential to bring students together. Feedback from students is especially important.

“Ideally, we say yes — we have to serve every student,” Kernan said. “But we can’t serve everyone, especially those that don’t share their thoughts.”

To share ideas, Kernan suggests that students send in an email or use the campus club website, Bengal Connect, which is paid for by the student activity fee. Through Bengal Connect, students can keep up with and join the organizations that they are interested in.

Campus organizations post their events, club descriptions, and meeting times on Bengal Connect so that students can stay in the loop.

Students can upload a photo, give information about their interests, and even receive text message updates for their groups. When you type in your interests, the clubs will come to the students, rather than students seeking out a club to join. On the homepage, all of the upcoming campus events are displayed for convenience.

Joining clubs on Bengal Connect can also help the club receiving more funding. According to Santiago, clubs with more members and a strong influence on campus get bigger budgets. Clubs that don’t get the funding they desire can appeal the decision.

“People think of us negatively because we have to lay down the rules,” Santiago said. “Some clubs don’t think it’s fair, but we’re trying to turn that around.”

USG is gearing up for upcoming showings of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” later on in the month.

As far as Springfest is concerned, a committee is being put together. To be part of the committee, visit the USG offices on the fourth floor of the Student Union.


Email: [email protected]