A new funding proposal drafted by the Student Senate will launch in the near future. Planning for the finance committee started last year. Student Senate is responsible for determining where funds for student activities are disseminated.
Students are charged an activity fee to assist with the costs of extracurricular activities around campus. For every credit a student takes, $11 is charged to their account. Randi Chrismer, president of Student Senate, explains that this fee is “used for all events and activities that benefit the student body.”
The new funding process will change the way the activity fee is utilized. The total activity fees received by the university will be divided into four main clusters. These groups include club operational allowance, emergency allocations, professional development grants, and event and activity sponsorship.
“The idea is that organizations and students would be able to request money from all but the club operational allowance on a monthly basis. The club operational allowance would still be a yearly process much like the current [policy in place],” Chrismer said. The way in which allowances will be decided is still to be determined.
The policy for emergency allocations will closely follow the procedure in years past. Emergency allocations are funds given to organizations that run into any unexpected expenses. These allocations are also used to start up new organizations. This allows clubs to function even though they have surpassed the review period of the operational budget.
The professional development grants feature is a new concept Student Senate is looking to put in place. “With this model, this would be the first time that individual students have the opportunity to request funds to attend conferences and [presentations] to better advance academic or career goals,” Chrismer said. This benefits individuals that may not be a part of a student organization, therefore potentially useful to everyone who pays the activity fee.
Events and activities bracket is currently being defined by the Student Senate. “To date, we have determined the purpose to simply be a funding pool for any [organization], group, or even department to request funding,” Chrismer said.
Existing clubs and organizations will be directly affected by this change, but Senate is trying to assist in the transition. When the proposition is finalized, they plan to hold training sessions. Student Senate aims for this new model to be easier for students to understand.
“Great effort has been made to assure that the new model would actually be more simplistic for students to understand as well as have the decisions made be more transparent to the student body,” Chrismer said.
A launch date is still up in the air. The goal is to have the funding process finalized by the end of the fall semester. The springtime will allow for training sessions implemented by Student Senate. Another hope is to present the funding draft to students at the Organization Leadership Conference. The conference takes place September 28.
The next step to finalizing the funding model is having the finance committee submit it to the entire Senate for a vote. If it passes, Dr. Anderson has the power to approve it. Then the proposal will be implemented.
Student Senate meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in SMC 118.