ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University students weren’t satisfied with their level of general activity fees (GAF) – which fund activities directly tied to the student experience on campus – so they took it upon themselves to get it changed.
NSU students Tyler Harris, Alysha Martinez, Zackery North and Kayla Sproles went before the South Dakota Board of Regents at a meeting in Spearfish last month to ask that a student referendum be considered, resulting in a $3 per credit hour general activity fee (GAF) increase.
The four students – all of whom serve on the NSU Student Government Association – explained how the students would allocate the increase in funds. They also shared that Northern students had already voted to approve a higher GAF amount, and were heavily educated about the topic before they voted on the referendum. All tuition and fee rate recommendations must receive approval by the Board of Regents, which occurs once a year in March.
The advocacy of the four students resulted in the Regents increasing NSU’s general activity fee by an additional $3.
"Having the opportunity to advocate for Northern's students at the BOR was an amazing experience,” Sproles said. “We felt it was important to justify the GAF increase our students voted in support of and we’re grateful the Board of Regents allowed us to present our case."
The increased funding, which will be managed by the student association, allows student organizations to keep up with the overall growth at NSU, and enhance the student experience for current and future Northern students.
“I think what we were able to do in Spearfish before the Board of Regents speaks volumes about the direction that the student voice in higher education is headed,” Harris said. “It was great to have such strong support from the student body, as well as the faculty and staff on campus, backing us up on something that we wholeheartedly believe can and will make for an even greater student experience here at NSU.”
NSU President Dr. Tim Downs said he is immensely impressed with all four students for taking the initiative to make a difference for the entire student body.
“This outcome is due to a shared governance between university staff and student leadership. We’re thankful that the Board of Regents was willing to hear from our students,” Downs said. “This is exactly the kind of active engagement we want our students to display on campus and in society, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
About Northern State University
Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $45 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.