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Leadership Perspectives

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Hey Tartans,

As your student body vice president of finance, my primary role is to act on behalf of all funded student organizations to help maintain fiscal responsibility and ensure that your Student Activities Fee is allocated efficiently. These duties are carried out by the Joint Funding Committee (JFC). The JFC is composed of students who represent the Undergraduate Student Senate, the Graduate Student Assembly, and campus organizations. Throughout the year, the JFC and I have been hard at work on a number of initiatives.

During the fall semester, JFC conducted a comprehensive audit of all student organizations funded in the 2008 fiscal year. The audit looked at the funds that organizations were allocated by the JFC and compared that allocation to how each organization’s funds were actually spent. The goal of the audit was to see if groups were spending in ways that the JFC intended. We also wanted to ensure that the Student Activities Fee was being used appropriately.Another reason for the audit was to see if the JFC, as the primary funding source for student organizations, was allocating effectively. We found that we need to have greater oversight and ask more questions of organizations.

Another significant change has been an increase of the Student Activities Fee by 5 percent for the 2010 fiscal year, a motion that was passed by both the Senate and GSA. Two weeks ago, a deliberative loop was held to gain student feedback on the Activities Fee. Students were provided information prior to the event and were then able to deliberate and ask questions of a resource panel that included me and others with knowledge about organization finances. The loop was put together with much effort by Joanna Dickert, program manager for the Campus Conversations program.

Lastly, I want to talk about the spring JFC process. All budgets for student organizations seeking funding next year are due today, Feb. 9, by midnight. I have held four information sessions in the last couple of weeks to educate organization leaders on the funding process. This will be the JFC’s most challenging year yet with requests from over 170 student organizations. Along with this, a new and improved budget tracker has been developed and implemented. Check it out at http://stugov.andrew.cmu.edu/budgettracker.

If you have any questions or comments for me, the JFC, or the funding process, feel free to send an e-mail to sbt@andrew.cmu.edu. Have a great semester!