SGA’s matching funds requests provide ample opportunity

May 3, 2012


Staff Reporter


Ride a bike for awareness, provide the Philippines with clean water, or attend a conference. These are just a few things that the Student Government Association has made happen this year through matching funds.


An organization can put in a matching funds request asking the SGA to match the amount of money they have earned through fundraising for up to $200.


According to Tyler Sipes, SGA treasurer, $800 is put aside every quarter for matching funds.


“The funds can be used for things like registration fees for conferences or assistance on projects that can affect the whole campus,” he said.


Clint Carlisle, SGA president, said they have reached their limit every quarter, usually approving four matching fund requests.


The matching fund request application packet in the back of Tolliver Hall is an easy form to fill out, but not many organizations take advantage of the opportunity.


“Many times it is the same organizations over and over because it’s something they’ve done in the past,” Sipes said.


One of those organizations is Engineers Without Borders, and EWB treasurer Nicole Roberts said presenting the request to the SGA is worth it.


“We need to raise several thousand dollars,” Roberts said. “We will be working with a community in the Philippines to improve the water flow to a village.”


EWB plans to work with the community for five years and hopes to make several trips. Roberts said the first trip will be to evaluate the stream that supplies the community with water and figure out a way to fix the sinkholes which are preventing water from getting to the village crops.


“I am still waiting to hear from SGA officially,” Roberts said, “but I have heard that we were approved for the full $200.”


Tyler Wagnon spoke at the April 24 SGA meeting, asking them to match  his numerous fundraising efforts to represent Pi Kappa Phi by cycling from Miami to Tallahassee to serve people with disabilities, while raising money and awareness for programs for people with disabilities.


“We will stop and spend time with people with disabilities along the way,” Wagnon said.


His matching funds request was passed unanimously, adding Tech SGA to the list of Wagnon’s sponsors.


If the money is so helpful to organizations, why don’t more take advantage of the funds?


“Organizations may not realize that the service is there,” Sipes said.


Carlisle said he thinks that communication with students is the root of the problem.


“Mass emails and poorly attended town halls are not sufficient,” he said. “Better communication has been a goal for every SGA for years, but the solution has not been found.”


According to Trevan Jenkins, president of the National Society of Black Engineers, communication is not the problem because he knew about the funds.


“The maximum amount we could use through SGA was not enough to have significantly helped us carry out a program or attend a conference,” Jenkins said.


He said NSBE raises money through fundraisers and corporate sponsors to create programs for their members, beautify the campus and impact the surrounding community in the positive way.


NSBE might not need the funds as much as other groups that could apply, but the money is going to a good cause regardless.


EWB might argue before getting on a plane to the Philippines that the matching funds of $200 meant the difference between making that first trip to get village clean water happen or not. Wagnon might say it means the difference between him changing lives across Florida, or staying in Ruston.


Any organization trying to make the world or their community, a better place, can take advantage of these funds.


Email comments to hms017@latech.edu.


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