Nearly two thirds of the remaining Downtown student government yearly budget was allocated to student organizations on Friday, with more than $73,000 given to Campus Recreation and $80,000 provided to the Programming and Activities Board.
The government now has a little more than $84,000 for the rest of the school year, but Downtown student government Director of Finance Sam Tongue said the largest yearly recipients of funds are already out of the way.
“Campus Rec and PAB were the big ones,” Tongue said. “Now it’s just a matter of what else we get.”
The Senate saved more than $50,000 by reducing PAB’s funding request by 32 percent and slashing the Student Nutrition Council’s request by nearly 60 percent.
Much of the debate into the specifics of each request happened during the Budget Allocation Committee meeting Wednesday and over the past two weeks.
Tongue said this elongation of the allocating process allows senators to make better choices about the budget.
“I think they (the senators) are making very informed decisions,” Tongue said. “They are making decisions that are year-long decisions, not week-long decisions.”
The Programming and Activities Board requested $116,791 for this year, but only had a specific cost breakdown for the fall semester. A line-item breakdown is required for funding requests this year.
“In general, any budget or funding request that comes to the Senate without needed documentation will not be passable in any circumstance,” said Zack Lindsay, senator for the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
The Senate quickly amended the request to $80,000 on a 3-1 vote.
College of Public Programs Senator Cecilio Porras voted against amending the amount, and later voted against allocating $80,000 to PAB.
“PAB can always come back and ask for more,” Porras said. “It’s just how much is left for other organizations has to be kept in mind.”
The Student Nutrition Council’s funding request was also substantially reduced from the original amount of $22,404.96.
The organization requested the funds so 24 members could go to a nutrition conference in San Diego in the last weekend in September.
The Senate voiced concerns over providing funds for so many students to go on this trip, and also questioned how much research was done to find cheaper means of transportation.
“I don’t expect everyone to cut costs because I don’t believe that’s what it’s about,” College of Public Programs Senator Joey Amonett said at Friday’s meeting. “But I do expect organizations to start looking for cheaper alternatives instead of just going on the easy route.”
The Senate originally tried to amend the amount to $10,888, which failed by a vote of 2-3 with Vice President David Bakardjiev voting against to break the tie.
They then tried to amend the request to $7,000, but that failed 2-3 as well, with Bakardjiev having to vote again.
Finally, the request was successfully amended to $9,000 by a 3-1 vote. Torunn Sinclair, senator for the Walter Cronkite School, voted against.
Most of the Senate meeting was spent in the debate of amending this request.
“We hope students will understand our funds are not unlimited,” said Director of Public Relations Danielle Chavez in an email on Sunday. “It is imperative that organizations do their homework to find the best deals and discounts before requesting funds from student fee money.”
The only funding request not to be reduced was Downtown Campus Recreation’s. They requested more than $12,000 less than they received last year.
Jessica Abercrombie, Intramural Specialist for Downtown Campus Recreation, said the organization cut several weekend tournaments – including Wiffleball – to reduce costs, as well as removing soccer from the league schedule.
Soccer was the least popular league event, and Abercrombie said they did not have enough personnel to staff both soccer and basketball or softball, depending on which season soccer fell into.
However, Abercrombie said they extended the seasons of the other league sports to meet with student requests and make up for the lack of weekend tournaments.
Several senators on Friday expressed their appreciation to Campus Recreation for cutting costs from last year.
Tongue said Campus Recreation was a “great example” of how to provide specific information in funding requests on how the allocated money would be spent. Tongue has previously worked for Campus Recreation as a supervisor and referee.
Also at Friday’s meeting, Director of Administration Rudy Rivas said they are currently finishing the interview process for 12 students who applied to various open Senate seats.
There were eight applicants for the two freshman senator positions, four applicants for one open Cronkite senator seat, two applicants for both Barrett, the Honors College and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and one applicant for the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion.
Rivas said two students applied for two Senate positions each and one student applied to three open Senate positions.
No students have applied to the University College Senate seats or the School of Letters and Sciences’ seats as of Sunday night.
Chavez said the names of the students who will go before the Senate for confirmation on Friday will be released after the application deadline on Wednesday.
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Correction: August 29, 2011
An earlier version of this article referred to the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion as the “College of Nutrition and Health Promotion.”