Student senate finance committee: the people behind the numbers

By Olivia Kolc | 11/30/16 11:14pm

On Grand Valley State University's student senate, there are eight people who make up the finance committee. There are seven senators and their vice president of finance, Rachel Travis.

The finance committee allocates the Student Life Fund budget of $1.2 million to student organizations on campus for event and travel expenses. These allocations are made through funding requests put in through OrgSync by student organizations. These funding requests are heard by the appropriations funding board and the cultural funding board. The appropriations funding board hears all of the funding requests for event and travel expenses, excluding cultural events. The cultural funding board hears all funding requests for cultural events.

At these funding board meetings, each student organization presents its request to the funding board, and the funding board then asks questions and discusses the request, makes a decision on the request, then explains to the organization why the decision was made. The appropriations funding board meets at 4 p.m. every Tuesday in Kirkhof Center Room 2201, and the cultural funding board meets bi-weekly on Mondays at 1 p.m. in Kirkhof Center Room 1142. Anyone is welcome to attend these meetings and they generally last an hour. Though the majority of the work with funding requests is done during these meetings, there is additional work that takes place afterward that student organizations do not always see.

Each member of the finance committee is given a specific role within the committee for the year. Some of these roles are directly involved in communicating information to students, or doing additional work with funding requests after they are approved. For example, the Lanthorn liaison on the finance committee writes a report about the approved and denied requests each week that is then sent to the Lanthorn and printed in the paper each Thursday. This is purposely done so funding information can be directly communicated to students.

In addition, the two finance committee event analysts attend and assess 10 events per semester that are funded by the appropriations funding board or the cultural funding board. The purpose of this role is to assess how the finance committee is allocating money to ensure the events being funded are good events that are enhancing student life.

In addition to the managing of funding requests through the appropriations funding board and the cultural funding board, the finance committee is also in charge of the Laker Children’s Fund, along with the Laker Traditions Team. The Laker Children's Fund is an organization that awards grants of up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations located in Kent and Ottawa County communities that specialize in childhood growth and well-being. After having a successful Battle of the Valleys week and raising money for the fund, the Laker Children’s Fund liaisons from the finance committee are busy planning the application process and the allocation process for the fund. In addition, they are also busy planning "Brews and Blues," which is an event that will take place during Sibs and Kids weekend at the end of January that will raise money for the Laker Children’s Fund. This event will welcome parents of students to enjoy craft beers from local breweries and appetizers along with jazz music.

The money that is allocated by the finance committee in the Student Life Fund is funded directly from the tuition dollars of students. When the committee allocates these dollars, we strive to fund events that are going to enhance student life. We encourage students to take advantage of this money by requesting funding for events or travel expenses for your student organizations, attending on-campus events and engaging in student life. These events are student tuition dollars at work, and we want every Laker to benefit from the campus life GVSU has to offer. 

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