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April 24, 2003

ULM Students Vote in Student Life Referendum

Students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe have voted in the Student Life Referendum. The Student Union Building (SUB), Campus Activities Board (CAB) and the Student Government Association (SGA) will all receive funding from the "Student Life" fee. Voting took place on-line from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both April 22-23 through the ULM website.

President of the SGA, Charlie Cheatham, says, "This is very exciting; today is a good day for students at ULM. This is the first step to improving our campus. Students can now truly look forward to better services, better entertainment, and better facilities. The difference will be seen immediately in the services offered by the SGA and CAB."

Cheatham was a strong supporter of the Student Life referendum even though he is graduating in May. He says passing these fee increases was very important to him.

"I knew that it had to start somewhere and I felt that the students were in a position to make a positive change for this campus since so many changes are taking place now. This was the right time to go forward with the Student Life referendum and I feel like it is the SGA's responsibility to 'make a difference'. I am proud to say that now the referendum has been voted in by the students, we will be making a difference."

Cheatham has posted the results of the elections at the SGA office at the top of the SUB for all students to see. The SGA will also discuss the election results at their next meeting which will be held Tuesday night.

The SGA and CAB Constitution changes were also voted in during the election. Other results from the election include: SGA President Kayla Haltom, SGA Vice President Leslie Citizen, SGA Treasurer Evan Earl, CAB Chair Jessica Westbrook, CAB Vice-Chair Devon Menefee, and CAB Secretary Shalesika Hardy. The election for SGA secretay is under review for possible run-off.

All students who voted in the election were eligible for a drawing for free tuition paid for by the SGA for the Fall semester. The winner for this election, chosen at random, is Jennifer Dollins.

The Student Life referendum will increase fees by $45. This money will help with remodeling of the current Student Union Building and more funding for student life activities such as concerts and other events.

Currently, full time students pay $110.45 a semester in activity fees according to the 2002-2003 ULM student catalog. The increase will have students paying $155.45 a semester, $45 more than they already do.

The funding from the Student Life fee breaks down like this: $2.67 will be added to the current $2.33 the SGA already receives from student fees, giving them an even $5 for their budget, CAB will receive an additional $12.33 to their budget for a grand total of $20 per semester, and the remaining $30 will go towards renovations to the SUB.

The original portion of the SUB which was built in 1939, has had several renovations the last of which was in 1980. The SUB is currently home to several student organizations, a few administrative offices, a bowling alley and billiards room, and a Chick-Fil-A.

Some changes to a revamped SUB would include an all night computer lab, a late night coffee shop/lounge, a ballroom and meeting rooms for campus organizations. The new SUB would also serve as a campus information center, providing students with one-stop shopping for any information they need concerning ULM.

There is a conceptual drawing of the renovated SUB available on the ULM web site. It calls for the demolition of the Indian Bank and Campus Corner bookstore. The concept also calls for the current SUB and the old SUB to be joined by the walkways to create a single building from the two. The outside renovations will include arched lanterns and more windows to give the SUB an open air feel. The inside renovations will create a plaza atmosphere with much more room for students. The proposed plans are only a concept and are subject to change. The SUB project will have to go through a bid process.

An SGA banquet is set for May 6. New officers will be installed at that time.

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