Alliance works past budget cuts for prosperous new year

As many students are aware of by now, budget cuts for student-led and student-driven organizations were cut drastically for the 2007 fiscal year. Among the groups facing a significantly large budget cut for the year is the Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

Following a year where the Alliance saw further group as the largest chartered diversity organization at Georgia State University, as well as the successful implementation of the forum Talk About It: The Power of Being Out for National Coming Out Day. The forum’s success led to the organization being the recipient of the Phoenix Award from the City of Atlanta.

With the level of success of the 2005-2006 year, the Alliance submitted a budget of $6,050 for the 2007 fiscal year to cover costs for guest speakers, office space, and special events.

When the Alliance received a budget allotment for the year, officers were surprised to find that the budget amounted to $500. The Diversity Fee Council, which designated budget allotment for diversity-related campus organizations, also gave one week for the group to appeal. A revised budgetary request for $1,800 was subsequently denied.

In an April 18 Signal article – prior to the revelation that all campus organizations endured budget cuts for the new fiscal year, current Public Relations chair Bryant Courtney commented on the budget cuts: “There is no question that the diversity fee is a priority-setting tool for the University. This money dictates what organizations will and will not be successful in a given year, and as far as I can tell, Spotlight and SGA are going to have another great year. The rest of us will suffer.”

Despite the significant budget cuts, the Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity is planning for another ambitious year. With National Coming Out Day occurring on October 11 this year, the Alliance is planning an LGBT Awareness Week for the Georgia State community. Current plans include a special SafeZone State workshop on Monday, October 9, and a special forum on Wednesday, October 11, with additional activities occurring on October 10, 12, and 13.

In addition, the Alliance will be throwing a Halloween Gayla on October 31. The event will be open for all students on campus.

The LGBT Awareness Week and the Halloween Gayla are just two of the events the Alliance is promoting to increase its social and political influence in the Georgia State community. With the LGBT Awareness Week, a number of the activities will specifically focus on transgender issues. The October 11 forum panel will address the coming out process.

Part of the LGBT Awareness Week will be spent preparing for AIDS Walk Atlanta, which occurs the Sunday after the LGBT Awareness Week on October 15.

Finally, the Alliance is working to increase its membership by working to promote meetings and events through multiple avenues so that the entire student body will know about activities and events.

In order to pay for these and other events, the Alliance is looking into fundraising activities to supplement the limited university-provided budget. The Alliance is also working on partnering with other student organizations to bring some of their events to campus.

The Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity holds its meetings every Thursday night at 7:00 pm in the Lanier Suite in the Student Center. More information on the organization is available at www.gsualliance.org.

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