Student Government of Seattle University is trying to improve how student programs and activities are allocating money. The SGSU Finance Committee has made appropriations, or student funding, changes that they believe will improve how students request for funding. Whether for an awareness club, cultural event, identity program or individual project, the SGSU Finance Committee is giving power to support students and their passions.
“The whole goal behind all of the changes this year was to improve accessibility to all students,” said Student Body President Mallory Barnes-Ohlson.
Multicultural Program Funding (MPF), General Funding (GF) and Individual Project Grants (IPG) are all included in the General Funding Request Form on the Appropriations website. Students can request money online and have the opportunity to fund for a specific need which they want to start, or are currently enrolled in, whenever and wherever they need it.
This new online form allows students to save their application and come back to it at their leisure. The simplicity of having one form will also help the committee to respond to requests sooner. If the request is under $500, the only step that a student will need to take is filling out the request form. The turnaround period for students’ requests under $500 is seven to 14 days.
Multicultural representative Stephenie Simmons explained that there is no need for a club to present to the committee if the request is under $500, because the finance committee is already aware of most of those costs.
“If someone requested a van rental for their club to go to a location off campus, we are already aware of what those costs are,” Simmons said.
But to start a new club, even if request is under $500, Simmons explained that students are advised to give a presentation so that the committee can have a deeper understanding of the request.
For requests over $500, the student must schedule a meeting with the Finance Committee after they have filled out the online form. The Finance Committee is available from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. every Monday in the SGSU office, located right next to the sky bridge entrance in the Student Center. After they have presented to the committee, students must wait for the committee’s decision for approval.
Simmons advises students who wish to present towards the finance committee to plan ahead and be prepared to cover all the potential finances that will come into play with the event in question, because the committee does not finance everything. She also explained that seeing students who provide meaning behind their purpose is important to the committee.
The process of creating these changes took nine SGSU representatives, three OMA advisors and two years of planning. SGSU’s goal is to give opportunities back to all students who wish to fulfill their mission here on campus. Student-led projects are a big priority for Simmons.
“This allows for club building on campus, as well as supporting students more individually and showing how SGSU and SU supports the endeavors of students throughout the school year,” Simmons said.
Assistant Director for Student Involvement Jose Vazquez said he believes that MPF and IPG are important implementations towards student funding.
“Students who don’t necessarily belong to a club, or don’t want to be involved in a big project, now can bring their ideas to campus and have access to money,” Vazquez said. “The Office of Multicultural Affairs also works with the LGBT [community], or anything that has to with diversity, so this increases awareness for not just cultures but identities as well.”
SGSU’s allocation comes from tuition money that is being dispersed to SGSU. Then SGSU’s VP of Finance, Matthew Kelly, creates the budget, which is then reviewed with the committee for how much can be funded. SGSU prides itself in giving back to students and allocates 75 percent of their budget towards student clubs and programs. Students who choose to start programs off campus must make sure to include Seattle U’s name on the logo, and also provide the event on campus as well.
By providing funds for any program, club or project on or off campus, and providing for more than one type of funding, SGSU helps students reach out locally and promote a diverse and holistic experience for students, the university and the community.
“Now that people can receive funding for events, we want the mission to be brought back to Seattle U and see how this event will benefit your peers and your community as well,” Simmons said.
“There is no real prioritization of group of students over the other, more of demonstrating ways that this allocation will lift up the school’s mission statement and/or benefit a wider group of students,” Barnes-Ohlson said.
She added that if she was to make a club of her own, she would make a “Mock-Trial Club”.
“I think a lot of people could nerd out with me,” Barnes-Ohlson said.
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