Members from the Associated Students Executive Board, Legislative Council, Finance Board and various other student organizations met last night to brainstorm fundraising ideas that would help to alleviate this year’s financial shortage within A.S.
After the failure of the A.S. base fee initiative in the fall special elections, A.S. is looking for other methods to fund its own operating costs as well as requests from student organizations that wish to host events.
“We’ve obviously come up on a budget crisis, and regardless of [whether] we get a base fee passed we need to have some other methods of sustaining [Associated Students],” A.S. President Chrystine Lawson said.
Ideas presented during the brainstorming session include sales of a coupon book and promotion of the various A.S. services such as the A.S. Notes service.
Finance Board Chair Manuel Silva suggested the removal of campus groups’ lock-in fees. Lock-in fees are pre-set amounts of money that certain groups on campus charge students every quarter for services and activities. A.S. cannot allocate the lock-in fees of any group.
Removal of the lock-in fees would require a ballot measure to be passed in the next A.S. elections. Placing the measure on the ballot would require at least 2,651 student signatures or a two-thirds vote in Legislative Council.
“I don’t think a lot of students understand what [A.S.] does, so just blindly giving money to this big organization seems like something students wouldn’t like. But if I knew exactly where my money is going… I like that idea better. You know exactly where your money is going and you can say ‘No, I don’t want this group to have it,’ ‘Yes, I want this group to have it,'” College Republican President Jeff Farrah said.
Lawson stressed, however, that these are just ideas during a brainstorm and are not official plans that A.S. has adopted. If A.S. decides to go forward with any fundraising ideas, a committee would be formed to coordinate the efforts. The initial funds to pay for the fundraiser would come from Finance Board.
“If we were going to do a fundraiser event, we’d go through Finance Board to request money. The money would theoretically go back to the unallocated fund,” Silva said.
Finance Board is in charge of allocating funds for events that student groups wish to hold. The College Republicans is one of the many groups on campus who receive money from Finance Board to put on events. In previous years, Finance Board allocated larger funds to student groups, but with the financial shortage this year, Finance Board must allocate less money than before.
“They used to look for us to completely fund [their events]. I don’t know if they’re still doing that. I think most of them understand that we don’t have that much money. From our point of view, that’s not what we’re doing anymore. We’re giving away what we think we can fund, instead of what they need,” Silva said.
Last year’s lecture series, “American Heroes,” hosted by the College Republicans, received funding from Finance Board.
“[College Republicans] will go back and request funding from them, just because we feel that we deserve it just as much as any other student group, but it’s reasonable to expect that they’re not going to be able to come through like they have in the past,” Farrah said.
Student groups are not the only ones affected by the financial shortage. Services provided by A.S., such as A.S. Notes and the A.S. Bike Shop, are also affected by the financial shortage. The A.S. Bike Shop had to be closed this past summer due to budget shortages, Lawson said. Since A.S. is responsible for the employees at the bike shop, alternative jobs had to be found for them during the summer.
A.S. also needs the funds to be able to continue functioning as an organization. At today’s Finance Board meeting, Internal Vice President Sunbo Bamigboye requested money from Finance Board to make agendas for Legislative Council meetings. Otherwise, she would not have been able to produce agendas for the rest of the year, Silva said.
Silva also said External Vice President Isabel Millan is low on funds.
“The external vice president for state-wide affairs has to travel a lot, and I think she’s spent most of her travel money, and it’s already Fall Quarter. There are a lot of initial meetings you have to go to and she went to those over the summer,” said Silva. “She’s probably almost out of money.”