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Student Government: SG leadership wants more financial savvy

Student Government Senate President Juan Soltero is urging the senate to take more control of how Activity and Service (A&S) fees are spent.

In his fall address, Soltero said the senate needs to become a better steward of the funds, since the money comes directly from students.

“If we work together with the Division of Student Affairs and we boldly advocate for change, we can make this not only a goal but a reality by fall 2009,” he said.

A&S fees compose an approximately $11-million account used to fund different entities. SG creates a budget and distributes the money between college councils, student organizations, the Division of Student Affairs and SG. Students pay $8.79 per credit hour plus a $7 flat fee toward A&S funds.

Over the summer, SG worked with the Division of Student Affairs to better define the governance of A&S fees and create a formal process for requesting transfers of money between budget categories. Money is assigned to organizations for a certain purpose and can only be spent elsewhere after a specific request.

As a product of the summer’s work, SG and Student Affairs must submit a quarterly report outlining the use of A&S money from SG and Student Affairs. SG and Student Affairs are still discussing the technicalities of these issues.

Sen. Ralph Reid said that he agreed with Soltero and that there is still work to be done.

“We haven’t had a lot of legislation go through, but that’s going to change,” he said.

One step toward becoming better stewards of student money, Reid said, is the creation of the Collaborative Bulls Fund resolution. The resolution, which passed Tuesday night with a vote of 36-0 and four abstentions, allows multiple student organizations to formally request a sum of money not exceeding $500 for a joint event. This request would be separate from the A&S budget request that student organizations make during the fall semester.

The Collaborative Bulls Fund must be created by the end of fall 2008, according to the resolution’s mandate. In the meantime, if multiple student organizations wish to request a sum of money to share, they can be funded through the Interim Funding and Transfers Committee. SG will accept up to four requests and each must be submitted by at least three student organizations, including one that is A&S-funded.

“This will allow for immediate action,” said resolution author Sen. Jennifer Belmont.