Fort Hays State University's Student Government Association are trying to send a message to state officials who hold the purse strings for higher education.
The SGA held a lemonade stand in a makeshift booth on the Fort Hays State University campus Thursday and plans to send the profits to the Kansas Board of Regents to help fund higher education in the state. They sold glasses of lemonade for 25 cents apiece.
"Our motto for the event is, 'When the government hands you lemons, make lemonade,'" said Tyler Hughes, student body president.
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," Hughes said.