Finance Board Recommends Additional Funding For Groups

By Dan Fletcher and Libby NelsonThe Daily Northwestern

The Student Activities Finance Board recommended $190,109 in fall funding for student groups at Wednesday’s ASG meeting.

Senators will vote on the funding recommendations next week, when they will have the option of adding or subtracting money from each group’s total.

A&O Productions topped the recommendation list, with $58,175 in additional funding. ASG allocated more than $240,000 to the group last spring.

Mayfest, which is responsible for Dillo Day, received $27,850 to supplement its original funding of more than $125,000 last spring.

The money allocated to A-status student groups comes from the mandatory Student Activities Fee, which is included in tuition. The fee was higher this year than in the past, giving ASG a slightly larger pool to allocate.

In the past, ASG funded only A-status groups. The fund increase means that B- and T-status groups will also receive funding during Winter Quarter.

The major A-status funding cycle occurs during Spring Quarter. Last spring, ASG allocated about $1.4 million to student groups. Supplemental funding gives senators a chance to evaluate student groups based on events occurring after the spring cycle.

SAFB’s list offered few surprises. The student groups receiving the most money in the spring also topped the list in supplementary funding.

One difference was Hillel Cultural Life, which received an additional $15,000 to augment its spring allocation of $22,000.

Of the 42 A-status student groups that are normally eligible for supplemental funding, 22 applied. Of those, SAFB recommended no additional funding for one group – CaribNation.

Financial Vice President Sara Ittelson, a Weinberg senior, emphasized the importance of the funding cycle and urged senators to discuss the recommendations with their constituents.

Debates on the recommendations will begin at next week’s meeting and probably continue for another week.

Senators also unanimously passed a bill that creates a committee to study student opinion. The committee will consider ways to poll the student body annually to determine students’ priorities for ASG.

Senator Matt Bogusz, a Weinberg sophomore, said the bill provides ASG the means to scientifically study student opinion, instead of relying on HereAndNow polls and senators talking to their friends.

“We want to know what all the students want, not just the top 10 percent,” Bogusz said. Because the vote was unanimous, senators did not have the chance to use the new clicker system of voting.

The clickers, which look like orange remote controls, will enable the Senate to keep a more accurate record of senators’ votes and to post that record online.

Speaker of the Senate Jonathan Webber, a SESP junior, spent 15 minutes explaining the clickers and testing them with the Senate.

“This is going to get faster, I promise!” Webber said after a test vote.

Although senators will continue to cast votes verbally first, they will resort to the clicker system if the results are unclear.

The system will be put into practice next week, when senators begin voting to cut and add money from the funding recommendations.

Reach Dan Fletcher at [email protected] and Libby Nelson at [email protected]