Your assessment of the allocation of the Student Activities Fee (“Land of the Fee,” 11/14/08) raises some important issues about the fee’s allocation. While I am the first to admit that sometimes there are problems with the funding application process, we are always looking for ways of improving it.
As you accurately note, SG is in the process of reviewing its current funding policies, beginning with the Finance Committee guidelines. These guidelines have not been seriously updated in years and are undergoing a thorough review to reflect current policies. None of these changes has been finalized yet, and all of these changes are the subject of open debate at Student Government meetings; they will be the primary agenda item at this Thursday’s Assembly meeting.
The purpose of these guidelines is not to make it “unnecessarily difficult to fund creative and innovative ideas,” but rather to create standards that are fair and apply across many different types of groups. They aid members of the Finance Committee to objectively analyze requests, rather than rely on subjective determinations of merit. They allow RSOs to rely on standard policies, rather than pander to the capricious whim of a given group of students.
At the same time, the Finance Committee always welcomes new groups and new ideas and is not bound to these guidelines in new or outlying circumstances. Each group is given the opportunity to explain the merits of its budget, how it fits with or should extend beyond the guidelines, and how it will improve student life on campus.
Moreover, SG is currently in the process of moving its application process online. This move, while potentially expensive, will save future generations of students from the headache of filling out a long and confusing application in favor of what we hope will be a clear and concise online form.
While this may stop short of your idea of “radical change,” as a former RSO leader I am happy to know that there are policies in place that will enable my group to function and execute its essential goals on campus. Without some set of standards, this would not be possible. SG continues to develop opportunities for students to go above and beyond their everyday needs, and for that purpose the Uncommon Fund exists and SG is working on ways to enhance resources for outside fundraising. In the “Land of the Fee,” I am glad to know that there is a Student Government that is fair.
Class of 2010
President, Student Government