Kennedy advocates plan to grow scholarship fund


William Evans

Mark David Kennedy is thankful for choosing to major in finance.

Kennedy, the current treasurer of the Student Government Association and candidate for vice president of financial affairs in the upcoming election, will have to cope with the reduction of state appropriations to the University that has shriveled the University’s state-appointed budget to about $46 million.

“We have to find a way to work with the administration to address this,” he said.

He said the SGA office of financial affairs will have to reel in funding from sources other than the state government, such as alumni and private businesses, to meet the financial needs of student organizations.

Kennedy said Auburn University’s SGA has partnered with Verizon Wireless so that the SGA will receive $50 for each student who signs a cell phone contract for $39.99 per month.

As vice president of financial affairs, Kennedy said he would want to institute a similar plan for the University.

The Financial Affairs Committee, which distributes funds to student organizations, has depleted its per fiscal year budget of $120,000 although an FAC meeting is scheduled in April with around $61,000 of requests being made from student organizations, he said. The University’s Office of Student Affairs has bestowed $15,000 to be apportioned to student groups at the April meeting.

When asked about a tuition freeze, which would halt tuition hikes, Kennedy said the financial backing of certain programs would be hindered if the University retreated from raising tuition prices.

“You have to look at the numbers,” he said. “When we have a tuition freeze, especially during an inflationary period and a recession, you would have to take away funding from something else.”

Kennedy said the construction of new buildings on campus and the University’s purchase of Bryce Hospital are expenses that must be taken into consideration.

The SGA Endowment Fund for student scholarships will rise from about $26,000 to about $46,000 in principal by the end of March, he added.

The Endowment Fund is structured as an investment fund that exists in perpetuity for the University so that scholarships are awarded based on the interest earned from the investment, he said.

If elected, Kennedy said he will work to heal divisions in the student body that persist because of past traditions, such as the greek and non-greek divide and racial prejudice, that linger into the present.

“People stigmatize other people on campus,” he said.

Kennedy added that he will incorporate a new position of assistant vice president of financial affairs into the SGA if elected.

To facilitate communication and the delegating of tasks, he will also have directors appointed to positions of oversight for SGA communications, scholarships, the Endowment Fund and the Date Auction, which raises money for the Endowment Fund investment.

He hopes to continue the values of accountability, inclusiveness and transparency championed under the current administration.

“This is the time to transform this office,” he said.