SA outlined improvements, student involvement at first address


President of the Student Association Delonte LeFlore speaks to students and members of SA about having a strong strategic plan for Student Association. He also states that he wants Northern Illinois University to be a more student centered campus, and that there was a 30% increase in the turnout of the organizational expo.

By Felix Sarver

The Student Association (SA) outlined strategies for improving its organization and increasing student involvement at its first address Tuesday.

SA President Delonte LeFlore said the SA wanted to hold an address to unify the students. Addresses have been heard by the university president and university vice president, but it was time to hear from the students, LeFlore said. SA leaders also wanted to connect with students curious about the SA.

During his speech, LeFlore said the SA survived a budgetary crisis this year. The SA budget was down by $110,000, LeFlore said. The decrease was caused by low student enrollment, which the SA draws funding from through student activity fees. The number of student organizations the SA funds has also increased.

LeFlore said this situation forced the SA to reexamine and balance its budget.

“I wish we could take this technique to Springfield,” LeFlore said.

LeFlore said the SA Treasurer Joshua Venaas, SA Senate Speaker Austin Quick and himself reduced the executive allocation and supplemental funding by a combined total of $55,000. Along with other efforts, the SA managed to balance their budget and have a surplus of $100,000 in their reserve.

LeFlore also mentioned in his speech that the SA will not accept violence on campus. The SA has been working with the university and DeKalb to find ways to keep the campus safe. Students are encouraged to be proactive in stopping problems, LeFlore said.

LeFlore outlined a strategic plan the SA enacted to better its services and reach out to students. The SA put together several subgroups to address four areas they wanted to succeed in. Each subgroup helped with finding ways to increase student involvement, increase student interest in the SA, market the SA and make funding for student organizations easier.

“It is our hope, with your support, that we can take these four fundamental areas to the next level,” LeFlore said.

SA Vice President Gina Gregolunas also gave a speech during the address. She said throughout the semester she maintained communication between herself and 300 student organizations. She also helped with many events and initiatives to increase student involvement.

After the address, LeFlore opened the floor to questions. When asked how the SA was working with DeKalb, LeFlore said during the last couple of months several other SA executive members met with DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery and City Manager Mark Biernacki to work on bringing NIU and the DeKalb community together. He said students felt there was a disconnect between them and DeKalb.

Junior pre-nursing major Rebecca Jacobs said the address didn’t seem like it benefitted her. She said she wanted to hear more about the residence halls rather than the SA itself.

Michael Stang, executive director for Housing and Dining, said he thinks the address was a nice opportunity for all students to become more engaged with the SA. He said the address was fairly unusual for them.

“It was big departure from what they’ve done before,” Stang said.