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Student Senate examines budget

February 3, 2012

The spring semester has barely begun at UW-River Falls, and Student Senate has already held two meetings. The beginning of a new semester brings a few challenges for the Senate and new items on the agenda to be looked at.

This semester they will be working on the annual budgets, both allocable and non-allocable, for the next year, as well as pursuing several student consumer issues on campus. The student organization budget will be the main focus in these first few weeks of the semester as it is a very important item on the agenda.

The budget is tight. It is never easy to make cuts, but the fact is they are more than 200 percent over budget in some cases.

“It is challenging to make the tough decisions, but it is what we sign up for,” said Senate President Tyler Halverson.

They are expected to cut thousands of dollars out of the budget, but the problem is more money is always needed for something. Student organizations will soon hear about their budgets following budget deliberations to be held by the Allocable Fees Appropriation Board (AFAB).

The deliberations, beginning on Jan. 26, will continue until they are completed and the budget is worked out. The budget must then go before the the Senate body for approval. Patrick Okan has resigned from his position as AFAB chair and Ben Blanchard has since taken over. This change of hands presents some challenges as there are many specific rules and policies that Blanchard must now be aware of in order to carry out the deliberations.

The AFAB has held hearings and trainings prior to the deliberations and now they must make the decisions on what is to be funded.

“It’s a rather lengthy process to say the least,” explains the Senate Vice President and AFAB member Carlan Strand.

Some of the different Senate committees have also held their first meetings of the semester. The Executive Committee met briefly before the Senate meeting on Jan. 24. Revisions were made to Senate stipends and to appointments to fill vacancies.

At the President’s Council meeting, Rob Silvers, an AFAB member, explained how new club sports are being added with no increase in the funds available to them. Silvers believes a long term solution is needed in order for these club sports to stay afloat. As club sports have never been a part of the budget before, it poses an issue for the AFAB in determining what funds are available for them.

Additional hearings and deliberations for the club sports will be held in late February. There are currently two positions available on the Senate. There is one senator vacancy and the Athletics Representative is also vacant. Those interested in the vacant senator position should email Halverson at tyler.halverson@my.uwrf.edu and anyone interested in the Athletics Representative position should speak with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

Senate meetings are held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Willow River Room in the University Center. The meetings are open to the public so anyone may attend. Minutes from every Senate meeting are posted online and can be found on the Senate page on uwrf.OrgSync.com.