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Group discusses budget, voting

Kathleen McDonnell | Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Members of the Council of Representatives (COR) discussed the upcoming budget reallocation and the plans to increase participation in student body elections during the group’s Tuesday night meeting in LaFortune.

With student groups requesting over $800,000 for last spring’s annual budget allocation hearing despite $481,243.06 available in total funds, “pretty much everyone is unhappy with the allocation,” Student Union treasurer Steve Friend said.

Every year student groups have a chance to request additional funds, and the Financial Management Board (FMB) reviews each group’s spending and allots any left over money in January as it sees fit.

As a “result of conservative estimation for the number of students paying student activities fees,” Friend said, $41,037.80 is available for this January.

“We’d obviously like to reallocate the full amount, because we understand groups have made concessions in that regard,” Friend said.

After Student Union Board (SUB) manager Pat Vassel drew attention to the lack of Student Union technology funds, Friend said one of his priorities is to replenish the nearly wiped out account.

“This year we had unforeseen needs, now it’s basically tapped out,” he explained. “Personally I think it would be a wise decision to put some funds in there.”

After the budget discussion, Judicial Council president Liz Kozlow outlined her plans to increase voter participation this year. One new initiative includes an election committee to help assist with publicity as a means to increase involvement.

According to Kozlow, voter incentives are crucial to increasing participation.

“We’ve learned that if you give people free food, they’ll do what you say,” she noted.

With that in mind, the Council has plans to offer Krispy Kreme donuts and, possibly, Chipotle burritos to voters. Kozlow also said the Council is working with Anthony Travel to put together a free spring break trip for a few lucky participants.

Publicity and easy access are the other two important components to increasing voter particpation, Kozlow explained. Posters in each dorm will announce the election dates, as well as facts about each position.

Kozlow is also working to have computers available in Mendoza, Debartolo and possibly Lafortune for students voting.

In other COR news

u Continuing with Shappell’s organization spotlight initiative, Friend gave a brief presentation on the composition of the FMB, calling it “a gathering of the CFOs [Chief Financial Officers] from all the big groups on campus.”

He gave a rundown on FMB approvals, sources of funds, the annual allocation hearing and the aforementioned spending review process each January.

u The council confirmed junior Anthony Dayrit as Vice President of Elections, part of the Judicial Council.

u Off-campus President Spencer Feren is looking into non-students often filling the designated off-campus parking lot.