UNA SGA senate rolls out changes to allocations funding

Guests at Phi Mu’s 2015 Casino Night play at a card table. Student Allocations Funding provided money to pay for the event last year, but the organization did not get the funds this year because they ran out before the sorority’s application was reviewed.

With hopes to spread funding across a wider variety of student organizations, SGA Senate approved changes to the Student Allocations Funding manual.

The manual stipulates how student organizations can apply for funding that comes from the Student Activity Fee for events and travel.

“Every organization that receives money is required to fill out a survey,” said Skyler Mansell, chairman of the Budget Oversight Committee. “This helps us determine how we can improve the allocations process.”

The updated manual limits requests to two per week for each organization.

Mansell said the idea behind the limit is to stretch out funding among more organizations on campus.

Allocations funding works on a first-come, first-served basis. During fall 2014, Alpha Phi Alpha received $10,578, more than 10 percent of the $98,689 available. Greek organizations received 55 percent of the funding, with $54,679 going toward their events and travel.

Mansell said the two-per-week limitation is designed to keep one organization or group of organizations from receiving a large portion of the money, as some groups have requested several allocations during one period in the past.

“I can only speculate (the limit will help), but I hope so,” he said. “This is a wait and see kind of thing, but I expect it to create a more equal distribution.”

Mansell said the committee’s hardest job is denying funds.

“It’s a personal thing for me,” Mansell said. “I don’t want to see anyone’s events get turned down. Also, if they’re not following the process, we’ve tried to teach them. It’s hard on me, too, because it means I haven’t done as good of a job as I could have explaining it to them.”

Freshman Alex McDonald said the limit will likely help spread the funding across multiple student organizations, as more groups will have the chance to make requests.

The updated manual also adds a new period for funding requests.

Organizations can now request funds starting March 1 for events and travel occurring June 1 through Sept. 31.

“Students are currently having to plan for Welcome Week events over six months ahead of time,” Mansell said. “This allows for a closer time frame for them to plan for that.”

The old allocations periods remain in effect: starting Sept. 1, organizations can request funds for events and travel occurring Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and starting Nov. 1 for events and travel occurring Jan. 1 through May 31.

The limit on how much money can be requested for prizes has also been changed from $500 to $250.

Prizes are “giveaways” that “should be related to the event,” Mansell said.

He told senators his committee recommended the change to cut down on more extravagant gifts.

“Bottom line, if you’re having to get a student to an event based on the prize, you’re probably doing the event wrong,” Mansell said during the April 16 meeting.

Junior Caroline Bobo, a former UPC delegate, said it has been her experience SGA uses prizes to attract people to events.

“That’s all that UPC does,” Bobo said. “Look at movie nights. The first so many people get a prize each month.”

Equipment purchased by the Student Allocation Fee is property of UNA, it must remain on campus and it is available to all organizations, according to the manual.

Under the equipment section of the manual, a list of already purchased equipment has been added. Updates to the list can be found on Orgsync.

“We have a lot of people request things that we already have and they can use anytime they want,” said senator Haley Scott, who serves on the Budget Oversight Committee.