Paulsen gets inside look at FSU SGA…

…and it’s likely an eye opener for most students here at our small, private, upstate New York school.

Florida State University is, with its enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, clearly a much larger school than Marist (we have somewhere around 6,000 students).  It’s campus sprawls out over a nearly 1,600 acre (450 square mile) area in the capitol city of Tallahassee, Florida.  In comparison, our nest here on the Hudson measures in the vicinity of 250 acres.

But how does this size difference translate into student government facts and figures? Former Marist student body president Andrew Paulsen visited FSU’s SGA offices recently, and provided me with some info:

  • Marist SGA’s budget, including all clubs, SPC, Concerts, student activity fees, etc. totals about $1 million.  Florida State University’s budget is up around $13 million.
  • The Student Body President at FSU spent $18,000 on his campaign to get elected.  This compares with approximately $1,000 spent by Marist SBP candidates.
  • Like American elections, student government elections at FSU have a party system.  For instance, one of the newer political parties on campus is the Ignite Party which runs on the slogan to “blaze a legacy of tradition, service and achievement that promotes and supports the advancement of” FSU.
  • Oh, and by the way, members of Florida State’s student government also get paid.  Paulsen says he does not remember the exact figure but thinks the wage for some members was somewhere around $15 an hour.  They also have two full-time office aids working 40 hour weeks.

“I have seen my fair share of SGA offices, and this was one of the nicest. Multiple people had their own office, including their Student Body President, Executive Vice President, and their version of our Senate Speaker and Senate Pro Tempore,” said Paulsen. “I think it is fascinating that, although Marist and FSU could not be more different in size, location, and being a public versus a private school, our SGA’s are working towards the same objective. We definitely hit it off talking about student representation and working with trustees of the college, and although we just met each other for one day, I feel like they could come to Marist tomorrow and be on the same page with making a difference on campus.”

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