Helping students spend your money

Updates on funding for student organizations

At their Monday meeting, Student Government unanimously approved several measures to update their Rules of Appropriation and Allocation to make it easier for RSOs on campus to receive money to cover events and travelling expenses.

Dylan Carpenter, Student Government parliamentarian, wrote the legislation for the amendments.

“I like taking people’s ideas and being able to put them into words, because a lot of people are like, ‘Well, this is what I want to do. How do I say that?’” Carpenter said. “Writing this legislation, I know that it will be there for a while and I know it will impact students. It’s really rewarding.”

The Finance Division of Student Government conceived these amendments out of concern that they have been unable to give away all of their available funding to RSOs this year.

Finance Division’s Student Activity Fund is comprised of the $20 student activity fee that each student pays as part of their tuition. This comes to a total of approximately $290,000 each school year.

The student activity fee was established at Ferris in 1990 at $7.50. Funds were allocated to organizations by the Student Activities Fund Allocation Committee, which later became the Finance Division.

According to Carpenter, there has been an immense rollover budget of the Student Activity Fund from last school year to this school year and Student Government will face the same issue next year.

According to Carman Plank, director of the Finance Division, said the biggest question they needed to answer was, “What can we do to get organizations to use this money?”

“Ultimately, that’s what that money is there for,” Plank said. “It’s for organizations to use, because they pay that money. It’s their money. So we want to figure out how we can give it back to them in a variety of different ways, whether that’s going on travel or that’s putting on events on campus.”

In the updated Rules of Appropriation and Allocation, the Finance Division proposed 16 revisions to their current policy, which will take effect starting in the 2015/16 academic year.

“Andrew [Kalinowski, 2014/15 Student Government president] and I sat down with all 5 of the Finance Division advisors and we had this conversation,” Plank said. “It was a 3-hour meeting and it was a great discussion. We came up with probably 30 things that could possibly be changed.”

One of the changes proposed involves allowing RSOs to request funds for multiple events during just one Student Government meeting. Currently, RSOs are only able to present one request per meeting, which can slow down the planning process if they are attempting to fund multiple events. The timelines for presenting requests also will be shortened.

Another measure will help student groups to fund off-campus travelling expenses. RSOs are currently able to request only 50%, but the measure will allow them to request 100% of the necessary money.

The new Rules of Appropriation and Allocation will also allow for the Student Activities Fund to finance philanthropic events and allot more money to the Club Sports Council.

“Before the next cabinet and the next president take office next term, the very last thing this current executive board is doing is making these changes for the RAA to hopefully better this student body,” Kalinowski said.

“We’re hoping that people will put on a lot of quality events here on campus,” Plank said, “and obviously with ‘quality’ comes more money being involved. We’re hoping that will help not only enrich the lives of the student organizations that are doing it, but also the quality here on campus and give people more options to go to different events.”