Documents: SG banquet costs three times annual budget

Documents obtained by the UP show possible overspending on the SG banquet


Photo of 2022 SG banquet. Photo by Samantha Sheradsky

Savannah Peifer, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Note: As of 1:00 p.m. Isabella Feaheny resigned from her position as Speaker of the House. This story refers to her as Speaker to reflect her position at the time of publication.

Student Government (SG) officials spent nearly $14,000 on their banquet, three times the amount outlined in their budget according to documents obtained by the UP.

The SG Registered Student Organization Banquet (RSO) is an annual event that happens during the spring semester. This banquet highlights 36 students, advisors, and RSO’s for their achievements throughout the year. In total, banquet personnel spent at least $13,993.95 this year — far above their original $4,500 budget.


In recent weeks, banquet personnel sought first to tap Boca governmental sources for more money.

A student government invoice and the budget spending for the year show the committee spent $4,172.20 on awards, comprising 92% of the budget. They also spent $220 for a DJ from Owl Radio and $16 for the room reservation. 

Isabella Feaheny, speaker of the house for the Boca Raton House of Representatives, was one of three sponsors on a January bill submitted to the House.

The bill asked for an extra $5,125.75 of funding to cover the food costs. Representatives denied the legislation in an 11-10 vote. Notably, Feaheny voted against the bill which compelled the committee to explore other options. 

“The majority of us ended up disagreeing with the bill after I spoke against it during the House meeting. It’s very uncommon to see a Speaker go so strongly against a bill, but I knew that $5,000 is a large amount of money that can be used for so much better,” Feaheny wrote in a statement. “I’m always inclined to put money towards initiatives and concrete projects rather than events, and so when I spoke against it I think I could’ve convinced a few people.”

Feaheny also believes supporting the banquet would take money from other prominent campus initiatives, such as providing an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant golf cart and putting study pods in the library.

Reilly Bridgers, chief financial officer of SG, told the UP he knew the committee asked many other account managers for help with funds and those managers denied helping. 

Committee members later enlisted the help of the Council of Student Organizations (COSO), Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), and Boca Raton Campus Governor Deanna Mancuso. 

Mancuso told the UP she paid for decorations but declined further comment. According to an invoice, the decorations for the banquet cost $3,810.00. 

Michaella Louis, graduate assistant of Student Activities and Involvement, said Mancuso also paid for a 360 degree photo booth totaling $650. The UP could not independently confirm her claim. 

Bocage and Louis later authored a separate bill asking the House to provide $3,408.25 to help cover the cost of food, but the House denied the bill Feb. 10.

Louis attributed the overspending to the implementation of a new section of the banquet.

“So the reason we need extra money is because there’s something different this year where we also have a cocktail hour, which is an additional thousand-something for the food,” she explained. 

An invoice from Chartwells, the catering company for FAU, shows the food and drinks for the cocktail hour cost $1,717.50. COSO representatives declined to comment but provided an expense justification form (EJF) via email showing their payment for the cocktail hour. 

GPSA Associate Director Victoria Jean-Julien told the UP they provided funding for the main dinner which totaled $3,408.25, according to an invoice

“The SG banquet is a nice way for graduate students to know what student government is, for them to see all the hard work that student government has done throughout the school year and a nice way for them to network and meet other people that are on campus involved in spaces that they may not necessarily be involved with,” Jean-Julien said. 

During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the banquet received the same allocation of $4,500. It is unclear how much they spent on the banquet last year. 


Banquet volunteers appoint the committee, which oversees and plans all banquet activities. Outside of that group there is a voting panel of different student leaders, including several members of the banquet committee. 

Receiving a higher number of nominations does not necessarily mean a win. The final decision is in the hands of the voting committee, which is composed of banquet committee Chair Vania Bocage, Vice Chair Priscila Buono, and other banquet committee officials. 

“So the voting committee includes students and a couple of advisors. The advisors don’t vote and I also don’t vote. So it’s just the students who are part of that voting committee community who choose who the winners were,” said Louis. 

The UP obtained the official list of nominations and the list of winners and analyzed the number of nominations in comparison to the winners.

Out of a possible 36 awards, the people or organizations that received the most nominations triumphed just 15 times.

AwardWinnerMost Nominations or Tied
Boca Raton Student Government Member of the YearReilly Bridgers - 8Reilly Bridgers - 8
Jupiter Student Government Member of the YearNadia Sifuentes - 8Nadia Sifuentes - 8
Broward Student Government Member of the YearYaxmira Morales - 5Yaxmira Morales- 5
Boca Raton Organization Member of the YearVania Bocage - 2Maleeha Burney - 11
Jupiter Organization Member of the YearPaige DeForest - 2Paige DeFrost - 2
Broward Organization Member of the YearAlyssa Scherger - 1Everyone nominated had one vote.
Student Media Leader of the YearLuke Campese -13Luke Campese - 13
Volunteer of the YearMichaella Louis - 2Nashley Baez - 5
Boca Raton Organization of the YearGlobal Business Association - 94Global Business Association - 94
Jupiter Organization of the YearOwls for Social Change - 2American Cancer Society - 2
Marine Biology Club- 2
Broward Organization of the YearAmerican Institute of Architecture Students - 3American Institute of Architecture Students - 3
Graduate & Professional Organization of the YearGraduate Sociology Student Association - 0Global Business Association - 4
Graduate and Professional Student Association - 4
Student Government Advisor of the YearMr. Donald Van Pelt - 10Dr. Tikiy`a Henry - 13
Registered Student Organization Advisor of the yearDr. Tikiy`a Henry - 5Patricia Forshaw - 5
Owl Spirit AwardTaylor Morris - 10Taylor Morris - 10
Presidential ExcellenceKathaleen Kelly - 4Reilly Bridgers - 10
Senatorial ExcellenceKaila Palmer - 17Kaila Palmer - 17
Judicial ExcellenceQuincy Thervil - 1Benjamin Cohen - 18
Boca Raton Gubernatorial ExcellenceShila Ductan - 14Shila Ductan - 14
Jupiter Gubernatorial ExcellenceAshley Schiffman - 3Nadia Sifuentes - 14
Broward Gubernatorial ExcellenceDiego Tenorio - 1Yaxmira Morales- 8
Boca Raton Representative ExcellenceDarius Galloway - 11Vania Bocage - 11
Jupiter Representative ExcellenceAllison MacKenzie - 6Allison MacKenzie - 6
Broward Representative ExcellenceFabio Cabrera - 6Fabio Cabrera - 6
Editorial ExcellenceHannah Burrell - 1Savannah Peifer - 3
Jessica Abramsky - 3
Event Coverage ExcellencePete Gordon (Owl TV) - 3Owl Radio - 9
Entertainment ExcellencePulse Dance Troupe - 3FAU eSports Gaming Club - 11
Boca Raton Event ExcellenceBlack Student Union: Battle of the Sexes Talent Show - 3First and Proud Winter Wonderland Ball - 10
Jupiter Event ExcellenceProgram Board: CarnivOWL - 3Program Board: CarnivOWL - 3
Broward Event ExcellenceProgram Board: Snowed In -1Program Board: Snowed In -1
Service Project ExcellenceCommunity Service Club: Campus Clean Up - 5Community Service Club: Campus Clean Up - 5
Multicultural ExcellenceDaniel Tabares - 4Maleeha Burney - 8
Mental Health Advocacy ExcellenceJayden Gadson - 1Maleeha Burney - 9
First-Year Council ExcellenceTyler Doll - 3Tyler Doll - 3
Graduate Student ExcellenceVictoria Jean-Julien - 9Victoria Jean-Julien - 9
Circle of ExcellenceDalia Calvillo - 6Justin Gadson - 8

Buono explained the voting committee is composed of five members from different aspects of FAU, including Fraternity and Sorority Life, SG, and RSO’s. 

Bocage believes the voting committee took many different aspects of student life into account when deciding the winners. 

“Those that were chosen truly, truly deserve their recognition,” she said. 

The banquet will be held on April 14 with a cocktail hour beginning at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Lobby. The banquet and award ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in the Grand Palm Room located inside of the Student Union.  

Savannah Peifer is the editor-in-chief for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories DM her on instagram @ginger.savvy or email her at [email protected]