NEWS

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November 18, 2003

RSOs to receive more money for events, trips

The Student Government Finance Committee is currently working to finalize budget changes that will provide Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) with better funding. The changes were implemented on October 28 and are currently in an experimental stage.

SG President Bo Shan began the initiative to reformat the SGFC budget last year, and said that one of the main goals of the slate was to improve the SGFC.

"We wanted to change some of our funding guidelines. For example, we are now considering funding for giveaways and conferences, two things we had never considered before, Shan said. "We've also raised our funding limits for pizza and hotel rooms."

Most of the changes constitute increases in funding for the items mentioned above—the "little extras" that RSOs often claim to need. There was a 40 percent increase in funding for hotels and a 25 percent increase in funding for pizza expenditures. Funding now also includes the "giveaways" that to which Shan referred—pens, buttons and other promotional items for organizations.

SG maintains that these giveaways would only be given to an organization if the RSO could show the "benefits of the items to the student body at large," in addition to the benefits provided to the agenda of the organization itself.

Ben Mainzer, third-year in the College and SGFC chair, emphasized that though allocations for novelty items are being considered, they will be officially allocated "only when the giveaway can be shown as integral to the event."

These are big changes for little "necessities," and some have criticized the need for the new changes, he said.

Mainzer, defending the new arrangement, added that the implication of these changes is that the SGFC will now consider funding a larger range of student activities—"Activities which will hopefully benefit the greater student body," as he said.

Among these changes is the additional funding for hotelrooms. Mileage funding has also been incorporated into the new system. If students need to make long car trips for organizational purposes, the SGFC will likely make reimbursements per request, at the University's default rate.

The SGFC plans on instating the unprecedented funding for off-campus conferences. Some think this will increase the potential scope of organizations by providing them with more venues through which they can be heard. Mainzer maintains that the organizations must prove that any off-campus event will benefit the University and "bring something back to campus."

The new funding guidelines have not significantly impacted past funding trends. Approximately 30 different RSOs have come before the committee thus far. SGFC meets every Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Reynolds's Club 010. Any RSO is welcome to come and propose funding requests and attempt to take advantage of the changes.