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Student Senate begins new semester, new decisions

February 5, 2009

The UW-River Falls Student Senate is facing challenges and changes to the campus this semester that will affect students through this poor economic time.

The Senate is working on maintaining the quality of this campus by improving much needed renovations, keeping the increase to next year’s tuition to a minimum and preparing for the final stages of the annual budget.

The Student Senate on Jan. 27 put truth to the rumor of a change to tuition for next fall.

“I think that it is a reality with the state that our economy is in that this would be coming,” Cindy Bendix, president of the Senate, said. “We need to keep college affordable but we also want a quality education. I think that our University is working really hard on that.”

According to Gregg Heinselman, student association Student Senate advisor, there has been an early indication that there will be an increase in tuition.

“We can expect between 5 to 6 percent, but I cannot confirm that,” Heinselman said.

A small increase in tuition may occur by next fall, but positive changes will also occur on campus as well.

Current research, designs and sketches are underway for a new Health and Human Performance building for the south end of campus.

According to Facilities and Fees Board Chair Krista Hasselquist, American Design Inc., an architectural firm, has met with a variety of groups involved in the HHP department to collect their ideas, needs and views for the new building.

“The new facility would encompass HHP department classrooms and labs, a dance studio, workout facilities, a gymnasium, a pool, locker rooms and offices for the HHP staff,” Hasselquist said.

With a vast amount of details unknown, the completion date is unconfirmed, but the goal is to have the building up and running by 2013.

With the economic state in mind, each decision by the Student Senate is important and valued down to the dollar. Each year, the Senate devotes a vast amount of the spring semester to the annual budget. The budget consists of each student’s tuition and the Senate determines how it will be divided among departments, athletics, organizations and events.

“I think one of the top issues we will deal with will be the budget because every student is concerned about their money and where it goes and why they are paying so much,” Bendix said. “I think by being fair and looking at affordability as well as quality we will be able to make a good decision on what students should be paying for.”