Sign the Petition to Support VSC Funding

By SGA President Shavonna Bent

At the recent board of trustee’s dinner, I had the chance to sit down with President Collins and Chancellor Spaulding and talk about many things the state legislature is considering for this session. Of course, the hot topic was increased funding for the Vermont state college system (VSCS).

To set the stage—Vermont has been ranked second worst for state funding of higher education for a long time. This has resulted in the second highest in-state tuition in the country. You might be asking, who could possibly be worse? I had the same question, and much to President Collin’s and Chancellor Spaulding’s chagrin, it’s our neighbors to the east. Thank goodness for New Hampshire, at least we’re not the worst!

Over the last year, the chancellor’s office has worked tirelessly to advocate for an increase in appropriations for the VSCS. They have made this request countless times over the years, but this session the request has gained some traction. This increased attention is due in large part to the decision to unify Johnson and Lyndon, as we are clearly doing everything we can as institutions to reduce operational costs.

As a member of the Vermont State Colleges Student Association (VSCSA) for two years, and in the role of President of the organization this year, I have had the chance to work closely with student trustee Morgan Easton, Tricia Coates, Elaine Sopchak, and Yasmine Ziesler, from the Chancellor’s office. From the beginning, they stressed the importance of a cohesive message coming from anyone requesting increased funds for the state colleges.

That cohesive request is a $4 million increase in base appropriations for the VSCS, with an inflationary increase each year. Even with this extra funding, we would still run a deficit, and we would still be second worse for higher education funding by State. However, it would be an incredible boost to a system that is struggling to serve over 10,000 Vermonters, with an additional 9,000 accessing the system to continue their education.

Over the last few months, student government leaders and others from across the VSCS have been making phone calls, writing letters, and pushing this request forward. The faculty and staff unions at Johnson have been active in making similar requests. Lamoille county’s Matt Hill and Dan Noyes introduced and co-sponsored a House bill that would support the request. Governor Scott included the increase in his budget proposal, one of the only increases he supported.

As the House budget was passed Friday, March 24 without the full increase and no inflationary language, attention has turned to the Senate. To that end, the VSCSA is organizing a petition to be signed by students, staff, and faculty from across the VSCS in support of the $4 million increase.

The statehouse is buzzing, and legislators support the bill (although concerns over where the money will be taken from have been voiced, and need to be addressed). Although much of the support is due to a drastic measure of unifying within two years, much of the interest has also been generated because students have spoken up and made their voices heard.

This is democracy at its finest—every voice can and should be heard. Stop by the table in the Fireside Lounge or the SGA office in Stearns 411 before April 14th to sign the petition and make your voice heard.

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Casino Night Success

IMG_3716The Johnson State College Student Government Association hosted the 40th annual Casino Night to Benefit the United Way of Lamoille County on Fri
day, March 10, 2017.

Prior to the event, SGA members had sold 100 pre-sale tickets and at the event, and another ninety-eight ticket-buyers bought tickets at the door. In total, the SGA raised $1,436 for the United Way of Lamoille County.

The event included seven blackjack tables, three poker tables, slot machines, roulette and craps. The night concluded with a live auction ran by two members of the SGA. The prizes were bid on by funny money supplied by Good Guys Production. Attendees left the event with gift cards to local restaurants, Vermont food products and JSC merchandise.

“Every time I looked up, students and community members were smiling, having fun and walking around with glasses filled with casino chips. It was clear to see that everyone was enjoying themselves,” said Mary Fafard, a senior who has chaired the planning committee for the the last two years.

JUST ANNOUNCED: Casino Night 2017 will be a black and white gala.

The biggest event on campus will be a classy act this March. The 40th Annual Casino Night to Benefit the United Way of Lamoille County will be a black and white gala. The event, which will be held on March 10, is a fun filled night of gambling, cards, delicious food and fun prizes.

facebookpost“This is an amazing event for both the JSC community and the United Way,” said Mary Fafard the chair of the Casino Night Committee. “To celebrate the impact this event has made over the last 40 years we decided to make this year’s theme a bit more special than usual.”

As always, the event will start with multiple blackjack tables and other casino games for attendees to play. Each ticket buyer will be given a glass full of fake money chips to play games late into the night. Around 10:30 p.m. the cash-out process will begin, and players will trade in their winnings for fake money that can be used at the end of the night auction. The live auction includes prizes from local Vermont businesses from all around the state. Some of last year’s biggest prizes included a Bash Badge to Smuggles Notch, a teddy bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and gift cards to Sushi Yoshi.

“SGA members spend weeks collecting donations for this event, and it’s really the highlight of the night,” said Fafard. “Folks that attend deserve these amazing prizes because they’re attending an event that supports the United Way. Their money goes towards the organization when they buy tickets, but at the end of the night, they could go home with an auction prize worth $50. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The United Way of Lamoille County serves people in need in the Morrisville and Johnson area every year through its firewood program and other volunteer services.

Tickets will go on sale at Johnson State College on February 27. Tickets for students in advance are $5, and general admission is $10.

For more information contact mary.fafard@jsc.edu or call (802)-635-1232

Johnson State College Student Government Association Members Hold Power on the Vermont State College Student Association

Johnson, Vt- Two Johnson State College Student Government Association members have been elected to positions on the Vermont State College Student Association (VSCSA). SGA President Shavonna Bent has been elected to serve as president of the VSCSA and Shelby Rosten, treasurer for the JSC SGA, has been elected to be the treasurer of the VSCSA. Continue reading