ASG launches discussion with student groups about funding

Students+from+Associated+Student+Government+and+several+student+groups+discuss+concerns+within+the+ASG+funding+system.+The+ASG+steering+funding+committee+held+the+forum+to+hear+student+opinions+before+reforming+the+funding+system.

Sophie Mann/The Daily Northwestern

Students from Associated Student Government and several student groups discuss concerns within the ASG funding system. The ASG steering funding committee held the forum to hear student opinions before reforming the funding system.

Kelly Norris, Reporter

ASG hosted a town hall Thursday to hear student concerns about the current student group funding system, as part of larger funding reform efforts.

Associated Student Government’s funding steering committee led the forum, which drew about 15 people from several student groups including A&O Productions, Northwestern Community Development Corps and NU Relay for Life.

“There have been micro-efforts to adjust the funding system in the past,” said SESP senior Andrew Green, ASG chief of staff and co-facilitator of the funding reform committee. “A lot of it happened within the A-status finance committee or within the B-status finance committee. In the last four years, this is the first time that a steering committee has been created to look at potential changes to the funding system.”

The forum allowed for the funding steering committee to hear a diverse range of opinions and learn what resources it could offer to help student groups receive the funding they need, Weinberg senior Julia Watson, ASG president and co-facilitator of the funding reform committee, told The Daily.

The event began with an overview of how student groups get funding from ASG and an explanation of the difference between A-status groups with high funding needs versus B-status groups with lower funding needs.

Students were invited to share their personal experiences and concerns with the funding system. Some concerns brought up were funding based on projected attendance, difficulties with multiple student groups co-sponsoring events and the need for more resources in navigating the funding system.

“I came to hear others people’s concerns and voice some of my own,” McCormick senior and A&O treasurer Elliot Lazar said. “Obviously the nature of different groups bring different problems, and we as an organization don’t have any problems, but I just want to be active in the conversation.”

Some students criticized the funding system, including its confusing process and the way it prioritizes funding for events that are likely to draw more attendants. Students also discussed the difficulty of finding other student groups to co-sponsor events.

Weinberg junior Sammi Bulmash, Relay for Life treasurer, attended to find out more about how her group receives funding and what it can be used for. Relay for Life doesn’t earn as much funding as Bulmash would like, but she isn’t sure if the group could change that, she said.

“I thought the groups that were represented were great because it was the perfect range of groups that we do fund, so that was good,” Watson told The Daily. “It was especially helpful to hear the different experiences that those groups have had, it was very interesting and we will definitely be following up with the students and their concerns.”

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