USS allocations process demystified

Jessica Rothschuh

Every full-time student pays $18.25 in tuition each semester to fund student activities, which amounts to $746,100 for student government to allocate for student activities this semester.

A large portion of this goes to the Undergraduate Student Senate Allocations Committee.

“It’s a source of funds for activities that (students) are interested in having on campus,” USS adviser Sheryl Smith said.

Therefore, it is important students voice their opinions through student organizations and USS, she said.

“You can request any amount up to what’s in the account,” said Chris Bowers, senator for business and finance and head of the Allocations Committee.

The largest amount ever allocated was $91,000 for College Republican to bring conservative news talk show host Bill O’Reilly to campus, though he did not come.

Whatever amount the committee allocates is tied up in an account until everything is paid for. Leftover money goes back into the allocations account.

“It’s very rare that funds are unused,” Smith said.

But not just anyone can have money allocated.

“We only allocate funds to registered student organizations registered with the Office of Campus Life,” Bowers said.

Registered student organizations must be composed of undergraduates and must have an open membership policy, meaning they do not restrict membership based on race, creed, national origin, sex, handicap, age, sexual orientation or grade point average.

These groups can receive funds for a number of purposes, like programming, service and educational programs, social programs and administrative supplies and funds.

Fraternities and sororities can only receive funds for cultural and educational programs because they are closed membership groups.

Sometimes the committee is unsure if a request fits the requirements, Bowers said. The committee then seeks advice from advisers.

“We have staff in Campus Life that are assigned to be advisers to the allocations committee,” Smith said.

A member of a student organization can begin the process in the USS office.

“Come in, pick up an allocations form, fill that out and meet with the senator for business and finance,” Bowers said.

Bowers said he is available to help students with allocations requests.

“It can be tricky,” Bowers said. “I really push for students coming in and talking to me.”

Request forms and guidelines are also available on the USS Web site.

After the form is submitted, a member of the group requesting funds goes before the Allocations Committee and answers any questions the committee may have about the request. The committee then votes to either approve or deny the request.

The Allocations Committee has 10 members and is always headed by the senator for business and finance. All Campus Programming Board, USS and Black United Students each appoint a member to the committee. The other six members, five at-large members and one alternate, apply through an application process. The appointed committee members make a recommendation to the senator for business and finance, who chooses the at-large and alternate members and presents them to USS for approval.

Bowers said his job is challenging but worth it.

“It can be hard sometimes because you work with a group,” Bowers said. “It better prepares you for real world situations.”

Contact student politics reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].