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ISSUE 118 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/12/2004

Senate allocates surplus

By Clare Kennedy
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 12, 2004

Allocation of the Student Government Association (SGA) surplus is well under way. The beginning balance was $98,666.05; to date, $26,911.05 remains.

"The goal is to spend the surplus in the next year, Financial Officer, Shannon Bifulk '06 said. Its the students money and it should be spent while they are still here.

The majority of funding, $55,355 in total, has been allocated to the branches of SGA, which oversees most student organizations. Another $8,000 was sent toward budgeting speakers, and $6,400 was given to STOGROW, the St. Olaf farm project, and $2,000 was given to Theta Alpha Phi (TAP), a student theater service organization on campus.

At the suggestion of SGA President Seth Heringer '05, it was decided that the different branches of SGA would receive a percentage of the $55,355 similar to the fiscal allocation of the annual budget. The two branches which received the larger portions of surplus funding were the Pause and the Student Activities Committee (SAC), which together constituted about $28,000 of the $55,355 to be distributed. Political Awareness Committee (PAC) was allotted $8,000. Another $5,500 went to Student Organizations Committee (SOC). SGA, Volunteer Network, Diversity Celebrations Committee, and the Board of Regents Student Committee all received less than $3,000 each.

The move to allocate a large portion of funds to the various branches of SGA was well received by many students and senators.

"The more money available to the Pause and SAC, the better our entertainment options will be, Shannon Merillat '07 said. Also, the Pause brings in a lot of money for SGA, so to improve the quality of the Pause is to increase revenue for SGA as well.

Other members of the SGA were equally supportive.

"Im glad that some of it went back to the branches, so that they can get more of their programming in," said Janna Holm '07, executive assistant on SGA.

While many approved the allocation of funds to most student organizations, other uses of the money were not without criticism.

"I voted against STOGROW, but I guess I was in the minority, Grace Munyakazi-Umutoni '06, the multicultural student senator, said. There are things way more worthwhile than the farm project.

Questions remain as to the fate of the rest of the funds. SGA is still accepting proposals concerning the remainder of the surplus. Any student may submit a proposal as long as he or she has senatorial backing.

Proposals are first reviewed by the financial committee, which discusses the various aspects of the proposal and then makes a recommendation upon presentation before senate. Though the suggestions of the financial committee play a role in the process, Senate ultimately decides by vote which proposals are worthy of funding.

"I think that it was a good idea to channel proposals through [financial committee] first, Elizabeth Henke '05 said. Its good that all proposals will be considered, but that the entire Senate wont have to weigh in on the finer points of each one.

The surplus origin is still uncertain. The surplus was uncovered last year by Bifulk, but the exact amount was not known until this summer, after the end of the fiscal year.

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