SGA takes a stand: Student leaders will operate lemonade stand to raise awareness of possible state budget cuts

Fort Hays State University's Student Government Association wants to wet your whistle -- and at the same time send a message to state officials who hold the purse strings for higher education.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, the SGA will open the State Higher Education Lemonade Stand in a makeshift booth on the FHSU Quad. A glass of lemonade will go for 25 cents, and the profits will be sent to the Kansas Board of Regents to help fund higher education in the state.

And yes, the message from the SGA includes this helpful tip: "We deliver!"

Tyler Hughes, student body president, will pull a little red wagon to deliver glasses of lemonade to offices on campus. Students, faculty and staff should call 5311 between 10 and 3 to place their orders.

"Our motto for the event is, 'When the government hands you lemons, make lemonade,'" Hughes explained.

Hughes cited warnings from news reports:

  • Gov. Kathleen Sebelius advised the Board of Regents that the state's institutions of higher education should begin planning for budget cuts that might be necessary if revenue shortfalls continued, and she asked that the reductions be targeted toward overhead that would not impact students;
  • A worst-case scenario for the proposed budget cuts would be 1 to 2 percent in 2009, which would translate into a cut of $16.2 million for higher education statewide, followed by another 5 percent for 2010, which would translate into a cut of $56.7 million.

"We understand that these are only proposed budgets cuts," Hughes said, "but we want to send a clear, concise message to our state government that the students are paying attention and we are not willing to allow our education to be compromised."

The budget cuts are only proposals and Kansas officials are hopeful the state's revenue will rebound in the coming months. Nonetheless, Hughes said it was important to make a statement with the State Higher Education Lemonade Stand before decisions were made about budget cuts.

"The burden of these proposed cuts will inevitably be passed on to the students, so this is our chance to increase student awareness about a subject that will affect us all," he said.

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