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SGA granted $32,522.80 to Alternative Spring Break

by Meghan Allen / Beacon Staff • November 15, 2012

The Student Government Association approved a $32,522.80 appeal for the 2013 Alternative Spring Break program at its weekly meeting Tuesday.

The money will be used to fund four trips for the organization — up from two last year — due to an increase in student interest, according to Isabel Thottam, the student leadership coordinator and a senior visual and media arts major. Students will have the choice of going to Biloxi, Miss.; El Paso, Texas; Nantahala National Park, N.C.; or remaining in Boston for the weeklong break. 

Each excursion will focus on a different type of service. According to the Mississippi trip leader Christian Bergen-Aragon, a sophomore journalism major, his group’s voyage will focus on hunger and homelessness, while the El Paso trip will concentrate on undocumented immigrants. The excursion to Nantahala National Park will center around the conservation of the Appalachian Trail. The Boston program will center on children’s education.

Each outing is limited to 15 students. The trips that don’t take place in Boston carry a fee of $350 but are being subsidized by the appeal; the money from the appeal will partially pay for participants’ plane tickets, housing, and food costs, according to Bergen-Aragon. The Boston program is free.

Mari Watson, the off-campus commissioner, spoke in favor of the appeal, and told the SGA about her experience with Alternative Spring Break.

“I had a blast. I don’t think I would have been able to do it if I had to pay for everything out of pocket,” said Watson. “I don’t think I would have been able to go, and I know there are a lot of students who are all for civic engagement and cannot afford [to pay for the trip].” 

Ben Halls, the class of 2014 senator, spoke against the appeal, describing what he saw as the dangers of spending a third of SGA’s yearly budget on one funding request.

“I don’t think it’s viable this year, because we haven’t seen that you can run four trips to four different places, and we are being asked to spend a majority of our budget on this before we get to Christmas,” said Halls. “I don’t think it makes financial sense.”

The motion passed eight to four. There is now $75, 087.20 left in the SGA pool account.