Student Senate back in gear for fall 2011
September 23, 2011
The new UW-River Falls Student Senate met for the third time this semester on Sept. 13 in the Willow River Room of the University Center. Among the first order of business was a vote that approved an amendment to change the way club sports programs are funded.
Student Association President Tyler Halverson said the amendment, which was one of his top priorities, simplifies the process of allocating funds, benefiting students and organizations. The amendment cuts the Club Sports Allocation Board, or CSAB, and merges its duties with the Allocable Fees Appropriation Board, or AFAB, to create one board responsible for making all funding decisions.
A relatively new addition to the university, CSAB was implemented during the fall semester of 2010. Halverson served as CSAB chair last year.
Under the previous Senate bylaws, the five senators and four students in AFAB were responsible for managing funds for student organizations and campus events. The money comes from the segregated fees charged to UWRF students as part of tuition. Funds for club sports programs, which are provided by specifically designated segregated fees, were managed separately by the nine members of CSAB.
Some of the sports clubs at UWRF include volleyball, rugby, and lacrosse. They are student- run organizations that operate under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Club sports programs are meant to be more competitive than intramural sports, and open only to UWRF students, according to the Recreation and Sports Facilities website.
Ryan McCallum, the assistant director of campus recreation, said the CSAB worked well last year, and that there was good cooperation between the Senate and sports clubs. But Halverson said the old system of two boards with two different standards had the potential to make funding decisions difficult. The new AFAB will consist of 10 members: four senators, two at-large students, a campus media representative, a club sports representative, the AFAB chair and the club sports budget commissioner, according to an Aug. 22 draft of the approved amendment. “These changes are an overall tweak to funding that is consolidated, efficient and fair,” Halverson said.
This is Halverson’s first term as president, but he has been active with the Senate since October 2007. He is joined this semester by Senators Patrick Okan and Jayne Dalton, three and two year veterans, respectively. Their collective experience is contrasted by a number of senators who will be serving for the first time.
“It’s a good mix,” Halverson said. “Roughly half of the current members are new.”
One of the new senators is Non-Traditional Representative Jessica Pett. A non-traditional student herself, Pett served as a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic in the Army before coming to UWRF. Although she has no experience in student government, she said her military service prepared her for her role in the Senate. “You learn to run a high-efficiency office (in the Army),” Pett said.
Pett said one of her goals this year is to reach out to students at the recently opened Adult Education Center in Hudson.
“They have kids and families, so it’s easy for them to let things go,” Pett said. “I’d like to see them get more involved; I want them to feel like they belong here.”
Halverson said there can be a steep learning curve when just starting out as a senator, but feels confident in the abilities of newcomers like Pett.
“I’m excited about this group,” Halverson said. “There are great things coming up.”