SG slate reflects on old ideas, makes new plans

By Rob Katz

Staff members impressed with the impact of Student Government (SG) on the University have commented heavily on the previous slate’s actions.

Sharlene Holly, the director of the Reynolds Club, opines that the SG Transportation Committee can produce strong evidence in support of the shuttle to the Red Line.

The concept behind the shuttle is that the #55 bus, the Chicago public bus that runs from the University to the Red Line’s Garfield stop is unreliable and a University-supported alternative is needed.

The impetus for all this came from SG, which allocates $500,000 every academic year.

“The key point here,” said Holly, “is how do students most easily get out Hyde Park and the rest of into Chicago? If there is demand for a University-run shuttle to the Red Line, then the school will respond accordingly.”

Asked then if that meant that shuttle supporters and denigrators should pay attention to the College Council races in two weeks, Holly said that membership on the Transportation Committee was not an elected position. If a student fills out the petition available outside Room 001 in the basement of the Reynolds Club, he can have a real voice in the continuation of the Shuttle project.

Jim Vaughan, assistant director of the Regenstein Library, worked with student government throughout the implementation of the 24-hour study space. According to Vaughan, the Library was approached in March of 2002 about creating a 24-hour study space in the Regenstein for undergraduates.

The University spent about $15,000 on start-up costs for the project at SG’s behest, according to Vaughan. $8,800 came from SG’s budget to install locks and alarms, with the remaining $6,200 coming from NSIT’s budget for data collection, staffing and maintenance during the pilot in the spring of 2002. After the summer of 2002, the Regenstein Library took over the funding of the space, and has funded it ever since.

Student Government also distributes funding allocated for RSOs, through the Student Government Finance Committee (SGFC). Last year the committee ran out of funds, leading to a major controversy over the spending of the funds. Executive slate vice-president Ananya Das indicated that in response the SGFC and Annual Allocations, which allocates money for RSOs’ yearly budgets, not event-by-event like SGFC will increase by $53,000.

Last year’s SG president, Bo Shan, said in an interview that he felt the exhaustion of funds. Although Das indicated via e-mail that since SGFC does not exist yet spending policy could not be formulated, but made the point that “more transparency and accountability is now demanded of SGFC [which can only be good].”

The Committee on Registered Student Organizations (CORSO) meets once a quarter to process new RSO requests. Committee members work extremely hard to accomplish their goals in committee. Joe Anzalone put in hours and hours of work, and we have, briefly, and Red Line Shuttle.

There are also three new committees this year, created by the incoming executive slate has added three new committees. They are the Council on Activist Concerns, a forum for “activist issues;” the Inter-RSO Council, a forum to aid RSOs in collaboration events with food options and t-shirt designers; and the Fundraising Council, which will oversee all SG fundraising activities and actively search for new fundraising opportunities for Student Government.

In the same vein as the Red Line, the executive slate has advocated for several big projects such as improving the Amandla Center, and putting out a quarterly magazine.

“We hope [the magazine] evolves from an SG initiative into a publication created by collective effort from all the student organizations on campus to communicate events, goals, large-scale projects, initiatives, etc,” Das added via e-mail.

The executive slate also received more money than it has in the past from Annual Allocations. Das explained via e-mail that the expanded budget “reflects the change we wish to see…more outreach programs, bettering SG’s ability to provide a wider forum for student input and participation, allowing students to interact within the University community and the Hyde Park community.”