Student Association has $1 million to allocate to student organizations

Correction appended

For the first time in University history, the Student Association has more than $1 million to dole out to student organizations and fund University-wide events, a number that will greatly increase the amount of programming the SA can fund, the chair of the SA Finance Committee said last week.

The exact figure won’t be calculated until all of the University’s students pay their tuition within the next two weeks, but SA President Jason Lifton said the SA is expected to receive between $1.1 and $1.2 million to allocate this year.

This is partly due to the fact that last year’s finance chair did not allocate all of the $800,000 the SA had to hand out last year. The $1.1 million figure is about $300,000 more than was given out last year, said SA Finance Committee Chair Chris Clark, U-At large.

Already, the increased student fee pot has allowed the SA to help support Fall Fest, allowing Program Board to secure two big-name artists – rapper Wale and hip-hop artist Travie McCoy – for the event.

The amount the SA has to allocate has increased incrementally since 2008, when a student referendum was passed to increase the student fee, and subsequently increased the amount in the SA’s allocations pool. Before the student fee was passed in the 2007-2008 academic year, the SA had $476,314 to allocate to more than 300 student organizations across campus.

Beginning in the fall of 2008, the student fee was increased from $1 per credit hour to $1.50, with the University matching the 50-cent hike. With each passing year, the SA’s pool of money to fund student organizations has increased by about $200,000, Clark said, and will continue to increase until the fall of 2012, when all students will be paying the higher fee.

Student organizations greeted the news of the SA’s large pool of money enthusiastically, saying they were looking forward to more funding to host more events.

The College Democrats and College Republicans both said the additional funding would enable their organizations to bring prominent speakers and programming to campus.

“We will be able to greatly expand our programming schedule,” Jake Wolf, chairman of the College Republicans, said. “This will greatly strengthen our organization throughout the coming years.

President of the College Democrats Josh Altman agreed, adding that he is looking forward to what his organization will be able to do creatively with the additional funding.

“I am confident that the SA Finance Committee understands as well as anyone the opportunities that exist right now for student organizations,” Altman said. “I expect that programming across campus will benefit.”

The campus radio station WRGW, which tried unsuccessfully to appeal its initial allocation for more funding last year, will upgrade its studio equipment if it receives more funding from the SA. Jamie Benson, WRGW’s general manager, said he is “excited to bring quality programming for listeners.”

Working with the SA Finance Committee and Student Activities Center Executive Director Tim Miller, SA President Jason Lifton said he spent the summer identifying student-run activities that would benefit the most from an SA funding boost.

“Our goal is to strongly support the big events that affect the most amount of people in our community,” Lifton said. u

Aug. 30, 2010

The article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Due to an editing error, the article used a female pronoun when referring to Jamie Benson. Benson is a male.

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