Aloszka delivers State of Student Body Address on Apathy at UNF

Emily Echevarria, Government Reporter

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Over the past academic year, Student Government has been troubleshooting problems on campus. From lackluster attendance at sporting events to lack of participation in elections to a disjointedness with clubs, the problems students encounter have a general theme. According to Student Body President John Aloszka, the underlying problem is apathy.

“Apathy must be the concern of the next administration,” Aloszka said in Senate during the annual State of the Student Body Address. “Apathy must be the concern of the election’s office. Of the Involvement Center. And of the Athletics Department. But moreover, it must be the concern of each person in this organization.”

Aloszka touched on the lack of participation in clubs, sports, and on-campus events, which were reflected in a recent Osprey Voice proposal. Aloszka has made involvement a key focus of his administration from the start, with the creation of the Student Involvement Center passing last fall.

“It is disheartening to hear that some students have never been to an event or in a club or to a basketball game. It is even more disheartening when I attend these events and see no one else from our organization there,” he stated.

SG President John Aloszka addresses Senate on Friday, January 24, 2020. Photo credit Emily Echevarria.

“When Nat and I came into office and immediately drew up plans to move Lend-a-Wing to the core of campus and restructure Club Alliance into the Involvement Center, we were told ‘that’s not possible,’” he continued.

This plan came with some major setbacks, like the bulk of construction being delayed from winter break to spring break, as well as backlash from students regarding changes to the game room in the Student Union.

“I have worked hard to open pathways for Student Government to collaborate further with our campus. Each administration is like pushing a boulder up a hill, and you want to leave it higher than when you found it,” Aloszka continued.

Part of his plan to improve UNF and unite the campus is bill to address student experience and campus enhancement, which was presented in Senate on Friday, Jan 24. Student Government has accumulated around $80,000 in its General Reserves during this fiscal year. UNF collected more credit hours than was budgeted for, leading to a surplus in the Activity and Service Fee revenue.

The bill draws on this surplus to fund $55,000 worth of projects for Student Government, the Recreation and Wellness Center, and the Student Union. “Because students paid the fee this year, we should use the money this year as if it was part of our budget,” said Aloszka during his presentation of the bill.

For Student Government, the bill allocates money to purchase a new electric golf cart, replacing the broken one they have now. “The golf cart we currently have is from when Bill Clinton was president,” Aloszka remarked. “We could essentially pay the amount of money to repair it, or we could pay nearly the same exact money and get a new one.”

The bill initially included an additional $35,867 for the Recreation and Wellness Center, split between a couple of projects. They requested money to purchase new black-out shades for the spin studio, as the current one are in disrepair.

The RecWell Center would also use these funds to build a new Myles David Wellness Sculpture outside of the gym. This would function as an outdoor work-out area for classes and stand-alone exercises, and would be constructed either under the overhang at the front of the gym or on the side of the gym facing Lot 5.

“People who are walking by might be attracted to it. Maybe they don’t want to go inside the Student Wellness Complex. Maybe they just see an activity going on outside and it pulls them in,” said Heather Kite, the Associate Director of Operations for the Recreation and Wellness Center. 4 to 6 students could use the fitness sculpture at a time.

UNF Student Wellness Center. Photo credit Jonathan Merin.

This was one of the more controversial parts of the bill, and many senators found it to be fiscally irresponsible. Senators questioned Kite on how the structure would be maintained, how it would be affected by hurricane season, and on the liabilities that came along with it. Senators were also concerned that the gym had more pressing financial needs, like repairs to several exercise machines that are broken.

After a vote, the provision to fund the sculpture was struck from the bill, and instead, $20,000 was allocated to the Recreation and Wellness Center for the maintenance and repair of exercise machines, recreation equipment, and other projects.

For the Student Union, the bill allocates money to configure an EMS web app to help students easily reserve rooms in the Student Union, similar to the system for the library study rooms. It also provides the game room with rolling ping pong tables to help alleviate the changes that are coming with the Lend-a-Wings move.

The chairs will be placed on the Student Union lawn near the lake. Photo credit Jonathan Merin.

Game room patrons were initially outraged by the decision to remodel the game room to include the new location of the student food pantry, but the Aloszka administration worked with them to find a way to compromise. Along with this new ping pong table, the game room will also be getting new gaming systems, including a Nintendo Switch and a PS4, and 4 heavily requested game titles, like Luigi’s Mansion.

As a joint project between Student Government and the Student Union, the bill allocates money to purchase 15 blue Adirondack chairs for the Student Union lawn and lake.

“I get requests all the time to put more swings places, and that’s really not feasible, but we can have these chairs,” said Aloszka of the project. “Students can move them around to sit with each other, to sit independently, and they’re UNF colors.”The chairs will be placed on the Student Union lawn near the lake. (picture caption)

With the new amendments regarding the Recreation and Wellness Center, the bill passed unanimously.

“We are meant to advocate for students,” Aloszka concluded. “Students have no labor union- if we want higher wages for students, we must do it ourselves. If we want campus planning to reflect the wishes of students, we must do it ourselves. And we must be comfortable being at odds with administration, with faculty, and at times with each other.

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