GAF forum turnout lower than expected as USD looks to raise fees
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GAF forum turnout lower than expected as USD looks to raise fees

In an attempt to inform students of the General Activity Fee that is added to every students’ tuition at USD, the executive staff team of the Student Government Association went from table to table in the Munster University Center asking students to attend their forum.
The General Activity Fee is a fee that each student is charged for every credit hour that they are enrolled in.  The money goes towards USD’s athletics and student organizations, among other things.
Through this forum, SGA was hoping to inform students of the possible increase in their fees.
After 10 minutes of searching for students who might be interested, only a handful of non-SGA students attended the forum.
At this forum, the possibility of raising the GAF in order to put more money towards athletics was the main point of discussion.
According to David Herbster, USD’s athletic director, the fees for athletics are significantly lower than the fees that are in USD’s division.
The funds that go towards student athletics are not enough, said Sheila Gestring, the vice president of finance.
“USD’s athletic funds are seriously under-funded,” Gestring said.
Herbster said that putting more funds towards the athletic program at USD would not only benefit the athletic program, but also indirectly benefit the university as a whole.
“A lot of times the general public doesn’t know how great this university is, and having an athletic platform can benefit how people see the university,” he said.
However, Nathaniel Steinlicht, President of SGA, said that he doesn’t want these financial decisions to negatively affect other organizations.
“It does put our organizations in a bind,” he said. “I don’t want any organizations to see a decrease in funding. I always want to see organizations doing bigger and better things.”
Herbster said that increasing GAF is a good decision for USD.
“I look at it as an investment in ourselves,” he said. “Whether it’s athletics or student health; no matter what it is, it’s an investment in ourselves.”
SGA will be putting together more forums about GAF to inform students about this potential increase in the fee.
McKenzie Holton, the external communications manager, said she’s looking forward to a better
student turnout.
“I think students should have a say in it, and I think we plan on doing a few more of these,” she said. “I hope to see more people
next time.”