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Senate holds executive meetings to keep boards in check

October 7, 2010

Better communication, fairer budgeting policies, running more smoothly and having a higher student voter turnout rate are some of the goals the committees and boards that make up UW-River Falls Student Senate have for this school year.

Communicating effectively is big on Club Sports Allocation Board Chair Tyler Halverson’s list. The board consists of an interesting mix of people, according to Halverson. There are four students at-large, two student senators, the club sports council president, the recreation sports facilities intern and the CSAB chair. Good communication is crucial to ensure that the board members are on the same page and that their priorities are the same.

“The members need to make sure they are neutral to all parties and they all find [the policies] acceptable,” Halverson said.

CSAB has only a bare-bones policy currently in place since the board is in its first year of existence, according to Halverson. CSAB was created in response to a realization that there is a divide between the needs of typical student organizations and sports organizations because they need things like jerseys, equipment and have insurance fees. CSAB was then established through the combined ideas of the recreation department, Student Life and the Senate. The stated purpose of the board is to be responsible for allocating funds to club sports organizations, according to the CSAB’s website.

“[The board] aims to follow policy and make sure funding is followed fairly,” Halverson said.

Goals for the Allocable Fee Appropriations Board include insuring a fair and consistent budget process and to work on efficiency and organization, according to AFAB Chair Jordan Harshman.

AFAB’s main responsibilities include preparing annual budgets for student organizations, reviewing single event funding requests and overseeing the spending of allocable dollars, according to the AFAB website.

AFAB is requiring all student organizations to attend budget training sessions on Oct. 13 and 14 so that all the organizations know the policies regarding budget procedures. This is a way for AFAB to ensure a fair and consistent budget process.

“[The board] wants to get the word out to all student organizations so that they have all the information they need,” Harshman said.

The goal of the Facilities and Fees Board is to run as smoothly as possible, according to Board’s Chair Beth Delong. This board oversees seven student advisory committees, according to the board’s website. The committees include: dining services, recreation and sport facilities, residence hall association, student health advisory, textbook services and university centers.

The board exists to provide student life facilities and to establish appropriate policies for usage of these facilities. It serves as the campus-wide governing board regarding program revenue facilities by overseeing non-allocable student fees, initiating policies that improve and enhance facility usage and by initiating recommendations concerning appropriate facility development, renovation and construction, according to the board’s website.

The most student friendly committee is the Student Affairs and Academic Services, according to its director, Jayne Dalton. This committee lets students know what is available to them at UWRF. This committee is hosting a polling event from 7 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 3 in the Falcon’s Nest in the University Center.

Students can come anytime throughout the two hours to take a survey. This survey will ask students about their opinions about the campus, the Senate’s performance and what is lacking with the different services that are offered.

“We want to reach out to students and get a better understanding of what the students want and need so that we can come up with some answers,” Dalton said.

The Legislative Issues Committee has two missions, according to Halverson. (There is currently no director for this committee but Halverson has sufficient knowledge of this committee due to his previous experience of serving on it.) One is to inform students about voting. The committee sends out mailings to the dorms, along with sample ballots so students know who is running and can research each candidate. The second mission is to be a lobbying arm for UW students. In 2007, under Legislative Affairs Director Craig Witte, the Senate took a stand on the Dream Act, which was about helping children of immigrants get into college. The Senate sent people to Madison, Wis., to actively lobby this act. The committee is working on hosting a debate between two candidates running for State Assembly: Dean Knutson and Matt Borup.

The purpose of the Shared Governance Committee is to maintain communication through all branches of the Senate. This includes all the boards, committees and Faculty Senate, according to Halverson (the director for this committee is also vacant but again Halverson has experience with this committee.) This committee consists of four senators and four students at-large, according to the Shared Governance website. The committee initiates and coordinates recommendations and appointments to the Senate in regards to University Committees at various capacities and works to advance students’ rights and responsibilities, consistent with state law, according to its website.

To keep all the committees and boards in touch with each other, the Senate holds executive board meetings. All the chairs and directors come together to let the other committees/boards know what they are doing. They can ask other committees for help if they are taking on large projects or events. The boards and committees are independent, but they do work together and keep each other informed, according to Halverson.

There are several vacant openings for directors and student at-large positions to serve on these committees. An online application form can be found at http://www.uwrf.edu/StudentSenate/StudentSenateCommittee.cfm.