October 27, 2011

Student Union Board Plans to Reduce Resources

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Students will see an end to trivia nights, movies on the Slope and free popcorn in Willard Straight Hall, after the Student Assembly rejected an appeal from the Willard Straight Hall Student Union Board to further increase its by-line funding allocation for the 2011-2012 year.

SUB requested $2.25 in funding from the student activities fee at its hearing on Monday, but it was granted $1.80 by the Student Assembly Appropriations Committee.

However, the S.A. awarded SUB a $0.55 increase in funding from last year — an allocation intended to go toward expenses for the pub, which will open next semester.

Despite the increase, Michael Motley ’12, executive director of SUB, said the organization was not granted sufficient funds to support its commitment to a new fourth floor resource center in Willard Straight Hall.

The purpose of the resource center is to provide student groups with chalk, banners and other materials to advertise their events, free of charge, Motley said. He emphasized the importance of this task in a year when many groups funded through the Student Assembly Finance Comission are coping with a new $2,700 funding cap.

“We started seeing drastic changes in our resource center costs three weeks into school,” Motley said. “The cost of funding the center has skyrocketed, and that was not reflected in the byline packet we submitted Sept. 1.”

Motley said that SUB had already reached its budget for the resource center this semester and would thus have to reduce other resources to keep the center running.

“We’re going to have to limit or end free popcorn this year, as well as other programs … simply because SUB has to cut some of the programs the S.A. has deemed unnecessary,” Motley said.

Motley and other members of SUB said they are also feeling increased pressure to co-sponsor events in Willard Straight Hall with SAFC-funded organizations who are strained for funding.

“I now have to tell these organizations that come to us for co-sponsorship that we have no funding for your event,” said Sean Page ’14, funding director of SUB. “We’re supposed to be bringing these people to Willard Straight Hall and trying to promote student activities — it breaks my heart that the S.A. couldn’t see that.”

Serin Choi ’14, fourth floor liason for SUB, added that SUB provides other valuable resources for clubs looking to host events.

“[SUB] acts as a facilitator … The S.A. is a really intimidating organization, so a lot of small organizations, or organizations that are just starting out, come to us for help when they want to put on an event and don’t have the funds,” Choi said.

Vice President of Finance for the S.A., Adam Nicoletti ’12 said the S.A. did not see any compelling reason to increase SUB’s funding in their revised budget.

“I honestly don’t think that trivia nights and popcorn need to go,” Nicoletti said. “[SUB] pushed four times more money into their new resource center this year when they could have spent the same amount of money on these programs as they did the past three years.”

S.A. Representative Jon Rau also questioned SUB’s budget changes and asked why the budget SUB distributed at Thursday’s S.A. meeting differed greatly from the budget they presented before the Appropriations Committee on Monday.

“If these are really the projected costs, then they should have been presented on Monday.” Rau said. “Nothing has changed from Monday to Thursday that costs should have changed that much.”

Other S.A. members questioned the efficiency and economic sense of allocating more money to SUB for co-sponsorships and resource center supplies.

S.A. Rep. Roneal Desai ’13 said he thought such funds would be better spent on increasing the budget of the SAFC — which has yet to have its by-line funding hearing.

“If you want to increase the money going towards SAFC-funded groups, you should not have to go through any kind of programming board for co-sponsorships,” Desai said. “Instead, we should see more money in the student activity fee going to the SAFC in the future.”

Nicoletti agreed that student organizations would be better supported if more money was put toward the SAFC.

“If we want more students to have resources, I think that a lot of students would rather us just put more money in the SAFC.” Nicoletti said. “[SUB] can continue to do great programs with the amount of money they have.”

Rau said he considered the money requested for the fourth floor resource center to be an overallocation of funds.

“It’s not really logical to spend $4,500 on chalk and paper, when chalk really doesn’t cost that much,” Rau said.

Original Author: Liz Camuti