In an effort to ensure each organization requesting funding from student fees receives a fair evaluation, the Student Fee Recommendation Committee is taking a new approach on how it distributes money.
Traditionally, the committee has kept a running total of money distributed compared to how much money was available for allotment. Before this year’s committee began deliberations, though, Kyle Braithwaite, Weber State University Student Association president, Jan Winniford, vice president for student affairs, and Brett Perozzi, associate vice president for student affairs, saw potential problems with the current plan.
By comparing how much money had been distributed with the total available funds, organizations evaluated toward the end of the proceedings could potentially have an unfair disadvantage.
As the committee began its first day of deliberations Friday, none of the members measured the comparison between the money that had been distributed and how much money was available.
“In front of our eyes, we don’t have whatever the running total is or how much money is left over to allocate,” said Justin Neville, legislative vice president and SFRC member. “By doing that, we’re hoping that it’s more equitable and that it’s more fair when it comes to allocating the money to the organizations that we feel truly need and where there’s the greatest return on our investment, more or less.”
Brady Harris, Davis campus student senator and member of SFRC, served on the committee last year and acknowledged the ways this year’s proceedings have been superior to the proceedings in years past.
“I was on (the committee) last year,” Harris said, “and I really feel like this year it’s a lot better process that we’re going through. I think it’s a lot more fair when we don’t worry about how much money we have to allocate and really look at specific areas to decide what they deserve and what they need. It feels a lot better than what we did last year.”
After each request has been considered and funds have been distributed, the committee will compare the total of its allocations to how much money is actually available. The committee will then make adjustments as necessary.
In addition to an improved evaluation system, the committee also received fewer requests for student fee funding than it did last year.
“Last year, we had three days of presentations because there were so many more organizations requesting money,” Harris said. “This year we only had two days of presentations, and that alone makes it a lot easier.”
Neville also said the smaller number of requests has made initial deliberations easier.
At the end of Friday’s deliberations, only a portion of funding requests had been discussed.
Braithwaite, who heads the committee, said his main objective is ensuring that the entire student population is represented.
“I think it’s going really well,” Braithwaite said. “There’s been a lot of insight, a lot of different insights and objectivity. We’re working to make sure that the bulk of the student population voice is heard. There are 12 individuals on the committee, and we have to represent 25,000 students.”
The committee will resume its proceedings Feb. 3 when Braithwaite hopes committee members will begin making final decisions rather than preliminary suggestions.
The role of SFRC is to make recommendations about how student fees should be used. The committee then sends its findings and decisions to the WSU board of regents for final approval.
“Hopefully, next week we can follow up with some very concrete numbers and decisions,” Braithwaite said, “and make sure we are all unified in our decisions before we send them to the regents.”