The Student Association Senate will dole out more than $700,000 in allocations to student organizations this year, an increase from the $613,367 that was distributed last year, Connor Walsh, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said this week.
Total allocations will reach $736,996 this year, but Walsh said he didn’t know how much money would be given out in the initial allocations process. Organizations can request separate money later from the SA to cosponsor individual events that they hold throughout the year.
“We make decisions based on the history of orgs on campus,” Walsh said. The committee examines “the bright spots, the dirty spots, and their ability to effectively spend the money,” he said.
Allocations are funded by student fees, which were increased in a campus-wide referendum in February 2008. For the class of 2012 and beyond, fees were increased from $1 to $1.50 per credit hour, with the Board of Trustees matching the 50-cent difference.
For the allocations process this year, Walsh said that the committee would have a new response to organizations that request outlandish sums of money.
“In the past there’s been a lot of fraud, a lot of excess. Organizations will ask for $80,000 expecting only to get $10,000,” Walsh said. “We’re going to say to people, ‘Go back and look at this again and come up with a better budget for us.'”
He also noted that the majority of the Finance Committee is made up of graduate students who work full time and have busy class schedules. As a result, he said that the committee would be especially inclined to support organizations that submit reasonable requests.
“We’re going to be very favorable to budgets that are precise and accurate estimates of what they need,” Walsh said. “We’re going to be favorable to orgs who choose to ask for what they actually think they’re going to get.”
Also this year, bylaws that prevent senators from directly lobbying for more money for their organizations will be strictly enforced.
“If you’re in the Senate and you’re on the e-board of the College Republicans, then you can’t say ‘Hey, I’d like to amend this to give $10,000 more to the CRs,'” Walsh said.
Those senators will be permitted to vote on the final bill, but will be prevented from making amendments that would be a conflict of interest.
Furthermore, all allocation requests must be made online this year, a change from the traditional hard copies submitted in the past.
“The new system streamlines the process for both students requesting funding as well as for those in the SA and [the Student Activities Center] who deal with the day-to-day management of the Student Association’s budget,” Walsh said.