USG Senate approves club funding distribution bill

The Undergraduate Student Government Senate held a special session Tuesday evening to finalize changes to Senate Bill 20, which covers funding distribution for ASU organizations.

The Senate passed SB 20 after making slight, last minute changes to various clubs’ funding, in the end allocating a total of nearly $250,000 to all ASU organizations that applied for funding.

The approximately $250,000 that was allotted to club funding this year was taken from the roughly $2 million USG receives each year from the $25 student activity fee each enrolled ASU student is required to pay each semester.

The passing of SB 20 marks the end of the ASU club funds distribution process, which involved sorting through nearly hundreds of applications and individual appropriation hearings for each organization.

The Senate held appropriation hearings Sept. 16-18, where clubs were given the opportunity to speak directly to senators, informing them of the organization’s goals, the sources of external funding for the club and to request assistance with events in the upcoming year.

In the week since the appropriation hearings, the USG Appropriations Committee drafted SB 20, in which they appropriated funds to each organization individually based on a variety of factors.

“We take a lot of things into consideration (when allocating club funding),” Appropriations Committee head and political science and justice studies junior Gerran Bettison-Clark said. “For example, we consider membership and how much money (the club) spent from past allocations.”

In addition to considering club membership and past spending, the Appropriations Committee also considers attributes such as the club’s educational benefit, history and event attendance.

“Club funding is extremely important to us,” said The Underground Foundation president and philosophy junior Khayree Billingslea. “It allows us to keep membership dues down and focus on other projects.”

Billingslea started The Underground Foundation in the spring of 2011 as a way of improving the local music scene. TUF hosts a variety of events from house shows featuring local artists to Within These Walls punk show, for which they also created a complementary documentary.

During the appropriation hearings this year, there was some miscommunication between USG and various clubs’ officers, resulting in several clubs missing the hearings and consequently not receiving USG funding.

To remedy this in the future, USG Senate President and biological science senior Kumuda Pradhan is proposing Affiliate Organizations, which would have individual senators each representing a host of ASU organizations.

“My goal (with Affiliate Organizations) is to get the senators to engage in outreach to the student community,” Pradhan said. “This way clubs and (USG) constituents can voice their opinions on the issues and stay up to date on USG activity.”

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