First special allocation request of the year passed

Story by Alex Zank, Chief Copy Editor

A student group seeking funds for aiding in financing a trip to their statewide conference received the first grant of special allocation money of the semester from Student Senate Monday.
Students for Health Adventure and Physical Education (SHAPE) requested $1,480.67 from Student Senate, and $850 was ultimately awarded to the group. The special allocation bill was voted on the same night it was introduced and passed by voice vote.
Senior SHAPE President Joe Pitsch said the money was requested to help provide aid for group members to attend the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education conference later this month.
“The reason I (asked for a special allocation) is because normally we have a handful of kids that go, but there’s never that huge push to get as many kids as possible,” Pitsch said. “And funding is a huge reason.”
Finance Commission Director Bryan Larson said the finance commission approved the funding request because the allocation met standards set in the finance commission bylaws as worthy of a special allocation.
The three things set in the bylaws are that the special allocation must be of substantial benefit to the university and/or community, it must be judged to be extraordinary, and the request must show an attempt to economize cost.
“(Pitsch) did a really good job of telling us how attending this conference is beneficial to the members of SHAPE and in turn the community,” Larson said.
The amount allocated was bumped down, Larson said, because it was not outrageous and it was ideal that students receiving the money would commit a certain amount of their resources to the conference in addition to the financial assistance provided.
Larson said this year Senate is in an interesting place concerning both the carryover and special reserve accounts.
“We’re in a situation where our carryover is … much smaller than it has been in previous years,” Larson said. “In the past organizations have been able to come to us and ask for large sums of funding; we really aren’t going to be able to do that anymore.”
Larson said the finance commission will have to budget the money wisely in order not to spend too much, which will lead to more in-depth looks into allocation requests.
The carryover account is smaller because past Senate sessions — some of which Larson said he was not a part of — decided to “spend down” some debt early for on-campus projects.
“(This was done) as a concerted effort to reduce our carryover to a more manageable amount,” Larson said.
Normally bills introduced, including special allocation requests, are voted on at the next senate meeting. The rules were suspended to vote on this bill the same night because the conference is coming up and therefore the allocation was more time sensitive, Larson said.
Pitsch said he is grateful for the amount allocated to SHAPE, and it will help more people to be able to take the trip to Waukesha this month.
The Senate also passed a bill to make changes to the Student Organizations Handbook Monday, and a bill was also introduced to amend Intergovernmental Affairs commission bylaws. That bill will be voted on next week.