ASUC to Consider Using Reserve Funds to Help Student Groups

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The ASUC Senate Finance Committee is set to vote Wednesday on two bills that would allocate more of the senate's reserve fund for students and campus student groups.

If approved by a majority vote by the committee and the senate at large, one bill would transfer $13,000 from the carry-forward fund to the senate contingency fund, which provides funding to student organizations for various projects, programs and activities. A second bill would allocate $5,000 from the carry-forward fund to the senate Academic Opportunity Fund, which offers grants to students and student groups for academic experiences outside of the classroom.

"In regards to the allocations, students are in a dire need, and we are moving at a financially responsible pace," said ASUC Independent Senator Christopher Franco, a member of the finance committee.

Finance Officer Alan Ni said the Academic Opportunity Fund began the 2009-10 academic year with about $10,000 and has a current balance of $3,623 while the contingency fund began the year with $23,806 and currently has a negative balance of $1,924.

The carry-forward fund has a current balance of $326,110 from a starting balance of $341,123 at the beginning of the fall 2009 semester, Ni said.

Recognized student groups receive an annual allocation in the ASUC's budget but may apply for additional funding from the contingency fund on a case-by-case basis. In the 2009-10 ASUC budget, funding allocations range from the $1500 distributed to Camp Kesem Berkeley Summer Camp, a nonprofit student-run camp for kids of cancer patients, to the $150 that was allotted to the Surfing Club at


Ni said that the ASUC has received more funding requests than in past years and needs to develop safeguards in order to deter wasteful spending.

ASUC President Will Smelko said efforts are under way within the student government to develop a financial model that would curve excessive spending by setting a cap on contingency fund allocations based on an average of ASUC allocated student group funding in the last five years.

"(Excessive spending) really hampers the next year's senate's ability to fund new groups," Smelko said.

Ni added that having better estimates of how much to allocate to specific funds could help offset potential funding deficits in the future.

"We'll reevaluate how much money should be put into the contingency fund," Ni said. "The (senate) could scrutinize more, get some guidelines put out there."


Contact Melody Ng at [email protected]

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