BY BETH LEVALLEY
Senate took $15,000 out of the reserve account because they did not have enough money to cover anticipated one-time funding motions in February.
“This year it just so happened that we still felt we wanted to be able to fund some campus programming, be able to fund organizations that may need these funds for the proper running and operations of the organizations,” Treasurer Trevor Matusik said.
The reserve account still has approximately $42,000, and the Quasi-Endowment account has around $180,000.
The reserve account acts as a normal savings account. The Quasi account is more of a trust-fund, and anything taken out of that must be approved by the Board of Trustees.
Any extra funds at the end of the year from both annual and one-time funding go directly into the reserve account, which contributes to the build-up of this account.
Senate members are forced to decide whether the funding is worth the potential benefit to Drake University, which is why they decided to take money from the reserves.
“We’re doing our best to manage students’ fees,” Student Body President Kevin Maisto said. “We’re doing what we can to retain the most value from (the student activity fee).”
Students at Drake are required to pay a $73 student activities fee each year, which contributes to both the annual funding and one-time funding that Senate allocates. With about 5,000 students each year, that totals approximately $365,000 specifically for student activities.
Annual funding usually makes up $300,000 of that total, the Board of Student Communications receives $37.75 per student for student publications and about $60,000 is allocated to one-time funding each year. These numbers have been relatively steady for the past few years.
Organizations can request annual funding each year, and the Student Fees Allocation Committee divides the funds according to the bylaws in order to allocate the fairest amount to each organization.
One-time funding requests come to Senate on a first-come, first-served basis and usually go toward events that do not happen on a consistent basis.
While Student Senate still has the option to accept or deny any request, it has set more standards in the past year to enforce equality and fairness across all student organizations.
The university found that only 92 percent of annual funds are used each year. Because of this, Senate is allowed to budget to a deficit for annual budgeting based on the amount in the reserve.
“We hope to over-allocate a little bit, but then all of our annual budget gets used up, and we stop having a rollover into the reserve,” Student Body Auditor Caleb Potratz said. “Once that reserve gets used up, then that money rolls over into the Quasi, and that’s just money sitting there that we don’t necessarily want sitting there.”
Because this is the first year Senate was allowed to over-allocate, they have not analyzed the effects of this decision yet.
Potratz’s role is to make sure the bylaws in one-time funding are enforced in Senate. He said one of the hardest motions to discuss is when the organization is also involved in academics.
“It’s really hard to draw that line of what is receiving class credit because the goal is that classes receiving university funding cannot double dip into the student activity fee,” Potratz said. “Tuition is paid to compensate faculty and the people of Drake University. We feel that student activity fees should be spent on students helping students.”
Maisto said the funding that Drake Choir requested was the hardest motion to address this year, for the reasons that Potratz mentioned. Drake Choir requested $15,000 last semester for a choir tour trip this spring.
“For them to come back again, it just clarified and showed how far we were able to come in our policies,” Maisto said.
After requesting more money, Senate did not approve Choir’s funding request.
Matusik said that he doesn’t foresee many changes in the future for these Senate budgets. He wants organizations to see consistency in forms and procedures.
For student organizations looking for one-time funding from Senate, both Maisto and Matusik recommended that all organizations have a clear goal in mind for the event.