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SGA approves $5 fee to save Little Bucs

By Elizabeth Saulsbury
On February 5, 2014

The East Tennessee State University Student Government Association approved a student fee Tuesday that will be used to fund the Little Buccaneers child care program.
The SGA voted 24-0-3 on a proposal to implement the $5 fee that will keep Little Bucs going. SGA President Mike Wallace, Vice President Caroline Baird and Secretary/Treasurer Alicyn York sponsored the piece of legislation.
"I think that really just the whole community of ETSU sees the benefits of supplying students' children with an education," said Nikki Dolan, Little Bucs Program Coordinator.
Little Bucs, an on-campus child care program for students of East Tennessee State University, was formerly funded with the Child Care Access Means Parents in School grant. With the loss of this grant, there was a strong chance that the Little Bucs program - and thereby many members of the campus community - would be negatively affected. However, the passing of the $5 fee legislation by the SGA means that the program will receive funding and remain active.
One of the most evident benefits is the fact that ETSU students with children can continue their own education while enrolling their children in an affordable childcare facility.
"Because parents are already funding their own tuition, it can be expensive for them to not only pay for classes, but also for child care," Dolan said.
Matthew Desjardins, a parent whose child was enrolled in Little Bucs, said that the program allowed him to continue his education and leave his child in an environment that promoted learning.
"Any student needing it can further their education and have their kids in a safe and learning environment," said Desjardins. "It's a service to help parents also get the education they need."
Dolan said that the positive influence of the program not only helps parents, but also improves the morale of the ETSU community.
"We have lots of people walking by the playground, seeing the kids, seeing babies getting pushed around in strollers," Dolan said. "It really brightens the day."    
With the implementation of the new fee, Little Bucs will continue the services that some ETSU students find to be vital to their degree completion.
 "I wouldn't have been able to finish my education without Little Bucs," Desjardins said.

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