Jack P. Carroll ‘24
The Student Government Association (SGA) Budget Committee has developed a $225,000 initiative to support students throughout the semester and coming years. The Tripod recently spoke with SGA Parliamentarian Joshua Jacoves ’23 about the initiative. Using leftover money from last fiscal year’s Student Activity Fee (SAF), the Committee collaborated with various offices and facilities earlier this year to create a full-time internship coordinator position and establish individual funds for printing, textbooks, research, and senior dues.
This is the first time a member of the SGA has publicly discussed the details of these initiatives. A Sept. 23 news update on the Raether Library and Information Technology Center’s website thanked the SGA for an “extremely generous donation” that helps students purchase all required textbooks costing more than $50. However, the College has not released an official statement about the Committee’s initiatives as of Monday, Oct. 4.
Jacoves told the Tripod that the Budget Committee directed $30,000 to the Dean of the Faculty’s office to help pay for the first-year salary of the internship coordinator. $120,000 was given to Raether Library to establish funds for printing ($50,000) and textbooks/research ($70,000). $75,000 was placed into a senior equity fund to be jointly managed by the offices of the Dean of Students and the Students, Activities, Involvement, and Leadership (S.A.I.L.) Office.
Trinity’s Budget Director Marcia Johnson confirmed the figures provided by Jacoves.
These initiatives were developed during the 2021 spring semester after Trinity’s COVID-19 restrictions prevented many clubs and organizations from using their funds. Jacoves indicated that these initiatives were approved at the end of May after the Committee met with Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina, Dean of Student Life and Director of the Bantam Network Jody Goodman, and Director of S.A.I.L. Nikia Bryant.
DiChristina confirmed that the College met with members of SGA in late spring to develop these initiatives. He told the Tripod that “In any given year, there may be a small amount of funds left over. Usually, the funds are carried over into the summer to pay for any final budget items that come in post June 30th.” He added, “The institutional budget cycle ends on June 30th. This past year with COVID restrictions in place there were more funds available. The funds were available because SGA and student organizations were not able to offer as many activities.”
“We all came to a consensus that yes, of course, this money should be going to student issues, student initiatives, and things that should benefit the students – instead of being taken back by the College,” said Jacoves. The three administrators then gave the Committee clearance to pursue these initiatives. The student representatives who were present at the meetings included Jacoves, Camille Valentincic ’22 (Vice President of Finance), Isabella Yung ’22 (Finance Secretary), and Jederick Estrella ’22 (then-Senator). Jacoves indicated that himself, Yung, and Valentincic continued to develop the approved initiatives up until their finalization in September.
Responding to questions about the lack of communication surrounding these initiatives, Jacoves told the Tripod, “We wanted to wait until everything was set in stone so we can put everything out at once.” “We didn’t want to promise something that didn’t end up happening,” he added. “We want everything to be one source print so there’s not multiple iterations.”
When asked about whether the Committee obtained input from students outside of SGA, he stated that “due to the start of the initiatives beginning at the end of the academic year, a forum was not able to be held due to timing restrictions with finals.” The Committee selected these initiatives “based off of [sic] conversations with the Deans, students, and from members’ experiences through SGA with what students have come and asked for in previous years as ‘big ticket’ items.” He also confirmed that the Committee plans on holding meetings at the end of the semester “to figure out how the remainder of the surplus funds should be allocated.” Jacoves did not specify the total amount of money remaining in the surplus funds; he instead stated, “The rolled over funds have been put into the current years [sic] SAF account to be used for the fall semester.”
Jacoves told the Tripod that the internship coordinator will help students search for internships and obtain credit. He also claimed that the College aims to have an internship coordinator on campus by the spring. Associate Dean of the Curriculum and Professor of Theatre and Dance Mitchell Polin, who is familiar with the initiative, told the Tripod via email that the internship coordinator position “began with outreach from the SGA Budget Committee (in July) to provide increased opportunities for Trinity students to engage with the newly revised curriculum.” He also stated that Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Executive Director of the Career Life and Design Center Joe Catrino “identified the need for an internship coordinator to support an expected increase of students completing internships at Trinity.” Polin indicated that the College has not yet begun a search for an internship coordinator. He did not answer questions about the existence of a search committee, the timeframe of the search, and the type of work the position entails. “Instead, the available funds enabled the college to make a more short-term hire for an internship coordinator consultant,” said Polin. Catrino did not respond to the Tripod’s inquiries into the position.
However, DiChristina told the Tripod Tuesday that the College has already hired the internship coordinator. The individual is working 12-18 hours peer week with Catrino in the Career Life and Design Center. DiChristina did not answer Tripod inquiries into the College’s search for the position and the responsibilities of the internship coordinator.
The Library currently manages the printing and textbook/research funds. Valentincic told the Tripod via email Monday that the money for these funds “are overseen by two different Library offices.” Funding for printing dollars was transferred to Access Control and Card Services; Assistant Director of Constituency Services Rose Bernais has received the $70,000 for the textbook ($50,000) / research ($20,000) fund.
The printing fund was created for students who run out of their allocated printing dollars for the year. Students can access these funds once per year by requesting for additional printing dollars via the Trinity finance portal.
The textbook and research fund is managed by the Library. The textbook fund covers textbooks from the bookstore that cost more than $50 and do not have single use access codes. Jacoves told the Tripod that the Library made a 41 volume purchase for the semester. The Library projects that the fund will cover textbook expenses for the next ten semesters. Additionally, the research fund can be used to pay for “databases, datasets, certain books, and research tools.”
Director of Collections, Discover, and Access Services Katie Bauer told the Tripod Sunday that the Library has spent $5,000 on textbooks for the fall semester. She also clarified that the research funds are reserved for research projects at the junior and senior level with a sign off from a faculty advisor. Bauer indicated that students would have access to the research funds starting Monday, Oct. 4.
The senior equity fund is jointly managed by the Dean of Students and S.A.I.L. offices. The money, which is currently available to students, can be used to pay for senior dues. Seniors can request for funds from the account via a form administered by the Dean of Students. Jacoves told the Tripod that interested students should contact S.A.I.L. or the Dean of Students office to make a request. Dean of Community Life and Standards Robert P. Lukaskiewicz did not respond to the Tripod’s inquiries into the senior equity fund.
The online version of this article was updated on Tuesday, Oct. 5 to include administrative comment from DiChristina. The print version was produced before these comments were received.