Senate redistributes allocable funds
October 21, 2011
While the Allocable Fee Appropriation Board, or AFAB, prepares to begin hearings on student organization budget requests for next year, Student Senate passed a motion that will give AFAB coffers a yearly boost.
AFAB will begin training student organizations to submit budget requests for the 2012-2013 academic year on Oct. 24 and 26, said AFAB Chair Patrick Okan at the Oct. 18 Senate meeting. For the first time, dues-charging organizations like fraternities and sororities will be able to apply for a budget.
With the addition of dues-charging organizations to the application process, a greater number of organizations will now be vying for the same pool of funds. But the Senate passed a motion that will increase that pool.
The motion, which was introduced for discussion Oct. 11 by Senators Jason Keck and Jessica Bester, passed without opposition during the Oct. 18 Senate meeting. It changes Senate by-laws to make unused student organization funds transfer at the end of the year back into the pool of money to fund organizations the following year.
“It makes more money accessible for more organizations,” Keck said.
Under the previous Senate by-laws, unused funds in student organization accounts at the end of the year were transferred to a Shared Governance reserve account controlled by the Senate. The approved motion places those funds back under AFAB control.
The funds for student organizations are provided by the segregated fees charged to students as part of tuition. The organized activities fee is $17.75 per semester for each student at UW-River Falls, and the sports club fee is $4.50 per semester for each student, according to the Student Affairs website.
With nearly 7,000 students enrolled at UWRF, the total available funding for student organizations and club sports next year will be more than $300,000.
The process of applying for student organization funding has several steps. After organizations attend a training session, they will need to submit a budget request form by a deadline in mid-November. Then there will be a process of review by AFAB before the budgets are sent to the Senate sometime in March for final approval, according to a timeline in last year’s budget request form.
The AFAB policy document used to deny yearly budgets to student organizations that charged membership dues, or restricted membership based on performance standards or class standing. A motion forwarded by Student Association President Tyler Halverson and Senator Jayne Dalton, which was approved Oct. 6 by AFAB, eliminates these restrictions.
“It’s not guaranteed that AFAB will give duescharging organizations money, but it gives equality of opportunity to apply for it,” said Senator Ben Blanchard, one of the AFAB members who voted to approve the motion. Blanchard is also the president of Theta Chi, a Greek organization at UW-River Falls that may now apply for a yearly budget.
The approved changes to senate by-laws will help reduce the size of the Shared Governance reserve account.
The account currently sits near $150,000, Student Life Director Paul Shephard said.
“The money given is never all spent, no matter how diligently we give it out,” Okan said. “This will stop a lot of that from building up.”