Student funds: Where are they going?

By Grace Arneberg

University of Wisconsin–Stout’s student organization budget proposals for the 2014-2015 school year were due to the Stout Student Association on Feb. 3, 2014. With 89 requests and almost 80 hearings, it was up to SSA to decide what to do with nearly half a million dollars in student segregated fees.

This year, the total number of student organization requests was over 755,000 dollars. Around 480,000 dollars were approved of these requests. Compared to last year, which called for 916,000 dollars of requests and 470,000 dollars approved, this is a significant improvement.

In previous years, only two weeks were given from the end of September to the beginning of October for student organizations to decide how much money they wanted to request for the following year’s budget. This year, organizations had from Oct. 15 to Feb. 3, which is an entire extra semester to come up with the proposals.

“We changed this because it is important for student organizations to have more time to think about what exactly they want for the following year,” said Shadrack Masaki, financial affairs director for SSA. “There are so many new student organization executives and presidents each fall who don’t have much time to come up with new ideas. We noticed that they usually just end up submitting the previous year’s ‘safe’ request.”

Budget rules change each year by committee, and this year they include a fundraising cap of $150 per event, a food allowance of $150 per semester (for recruitment only) and event supplies cap of $200 per event. In addition, off-campus trips cannot exceed three trips per organization or $4,000, whichever is reached first.

“We have to be very intentional about meeting our goals,” said Masaki.

Unfortunately, the requests of nine organizations were denied completely because they failed to sign up for hearings. “I feel bad about it, but the rules are very clear,” said Masaki.

According to Masaki, the main goal was achieved. With more time to be intentional, students asked for exactly what they needed and many organizations received almost 100 percent of their requested amount.

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