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Student Senate Appropriations and Incentive Program 2015

Student Senate meets each week in the McIntosh Center activities room (Photo by Student Senate).

Student Senate meets each week in the McIntosh Center activities room (Photo by Student Senate).

Budget Appropriations

This year Student Senate appropriated funds for student organizations at Ohio Northern University in the face of budget cuts.

The process of appropriations is overseen of A.J. Mehlow the Secretary of Finance for Student Senate.

At the beginning of the academic year, student organizations can submit requests for funding from Student Senate.  The Student Senate at ONU is a university organization that allocates funds from a fixed amount given to them by the university.

ONU itself is under its own budget constraints.  These cuts trickle down directly into places such as Student Senate. 

A.J. Mehlow said, “Our initial outlay of cash has been cut as well, so the only way we can pass that initial outlay being cut on is through cutting organizations as well, because we don’t have enough money to run Student Senate and do the things we do and continue to give organizations the same amount that they got last year or the year before or five years ago, it’s just not possible,” to explain this year’s difficulties. 

The initial appropriation process involves a committee of five representatives, one from each college at ONU.  This committee has the ultimate say in which organizations get what sum of funding.  Student Senate cabinet members have no say in the initial appropriations, it is all decided by the non-senate committee.

Then the proposed budgets are voted on by the Student Senate General Assembly where representatives go through the entire budget and approve each organization’s budget.  One these budgets are sent out to the organizations, they have 72 hours to appeal their budget.

This year there was a single appeals night with five appeals.  There they presented their case for more funding in three minutes then general assembly had three minutes to ask questions.  This system was implemented in the previous administration for Student Senate. 

The current appeals process was put in place to ensure that student organizations were making significant cases for their appeal.  There was a time period previously where organizations were attempting to appeal their funding without good reason or minimal effort.

The amounts allocated to each organization are based heavily on how they positively affect the campus community in ways such as service. 

Examples of this include sending representatives to assist with the Tunes on the Tundra concert which featured “We the Kings”.  Those organizations who sent representatives received special consideration for their budget appropriation request.        

If an organization needs funding for a special circumstance they have the option of requesting a special appropriation.  For this the group or individual requesting fund must fill out an online form making the request.  But those seeking special appropriations should make their case to the General Assembly if they truly desire and need the funding.

The special appropriations are decided by four Senate cabinet member, the president, vice president, secretary of finance and treasurer.  Especially for special appropriations the person asking for funding must make clear that they will use the funding in a positive way for the campus community or beyond.        

The current emphasis on community service and campus involvement compounded by budget cuts have spawned an incentive program to give student organization opportunities for more funding. 

Senate Incentive Program

Drew Goehmann is the secretary of campus organizations for Student Senate.  The current president of Student Senate Gina Grandillo was in this position last year. 

Overall, Goehmann’s main duty is to organize welcome fest at the beginning of the fall semester.  But this year he is fostering an incentive program that was organized by the current president of Student Senate Gina Grandillo who was in this position last year.

The main focus of the incentive program is to increase awareness about Student Senate.  This incentive program pertains directly to student organizations participating in senate by sending representatives to General Assembly.

To participate in the program, student organizations must simply send their representatives to attend Senate General Assembly that is held every Wednesday in McIntosh Activities room.  A student can only represent one organization at a time even if they are involved in many groups. 

The actual incentive of the program is still being decided.  There are some within Senate who want to do a straight most attendance contest.  But there are those who believe that a raffle is a more fair way to decide who wins. 

Under Grandillo a raffle was conducted based on the attendance of groups at General Assembly and the winner received $200.  Goehmann is planning on also doing a raffle where the winner will receive funds to put towards their budget.

“It’s definitely something that will help them do what they need to do, it’ll be a substantial chunk.  But we don’t have a set amount yet it’s kind of a wait and see,” Drew explained his plans for the program this year.

The incentive program is meant to give student organizations at receiving funding from Student Senate.  With budget cuts trickling down into Senate’s own pool of funding for student organizations, additional funding will be difficult to allocate.      

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