SG restructures funding for student groups

Student organizations will have a new set of rules when applying for Student Government funding next year after an amendment to the Appropriations Act passed in the last full Senate meeting of the year last night.

The amendment was written in hopes of avoiding the situation that SG encountered this year when the Appropriations & Revenue Committee ran out of money in February, allotting all $70,000 of its budget to student organizations, said Sen. Mary Bosserman, cosponsor of the legislation.

“A lot of this has to do with action trying to set us straight about running out of money,” said Bosserman, A&R vice-chair.

The legislation makes three main changes, Bosserman said. The first is that club sports could only apply for a maximum grant of $500, down from $1,000 this year. The maximum amount of money available for General Funding Grants remained at $500, and College Student Council Grants and Service Grants remained at $1,000. Senate Special Projects still have no maximum amount.

Another adjustment was the elimination of the word “diversity” in the Service and Diversity grant. Now called Service Grant, Bosserman said this type of funding request was changed because it was difficult to interpret.

“One of the biggest problems we had was trying to sort out what is diversity and what is not,” Bosserman said. “This is not any effort to rid SG of diversity.”

For this past school year, student organizations were eligible to apply for multiple types of grants. The amendment now only allows groups to receive funding from SG once per year, whether in the form of a budget line-item or an A&R grant.

Sen. Kevin Parrott, chairman of A&R, cosponsored the legislation and said he spoke to former SG members from the past 6 or 7 years, and they told him SG only gave organizations funding once a year in the past.

“This is not really a change,” Parrott said. “It’s going back to the way it was.”

The amendment passed by a vote of 26-4 after much discussion by the Senate. Sen. Brittany Pennington said the changes limiting the funding students can receive from SG would make them bring their best projects forward.

“It’s good to help people but there are alternative ways to make money,” Pennington said. “We need to teach people not to use SG as a piggy bank.”

Even with the changes to the act, Pennington said the main change A&R needs to make is to take more consideration into what they approve for funding.

Many senators commented that some organizations have multiple projects that truly deserved funding throughout the year, and these changes would stop them from receiving necessary money. A section was added to the amendment that allowed the A&R Committee members to approve multiple funding requests in special circumstances at their own discretion.

While experience is the best tool for A&R members, Parrott said the changes will give a better structure for new members to follow next year.

After passing the Senate for a second time, a constitutional amendment went into effect that requires each newly elected Senate to create an accountability act to outline guidelines and expectations for senators. Each year the new Senate would create an act described in the legislation as a “contract with the Student Body.” This amendment unanimously passed.