SG working on way to grant conference funds to clubs sufficiently

Devoni Novak, Staff Writer

A Student Government policy on funding for conferences is in the midst of review by members.

SG vice president Ian Foley said conference funding will not be eliminated but guidelines will be set to ensure that student activity fees are fairly distributed.

“At the end of the day we want to make sure the activity fees are open and everyone can have access to them,” Foley said.

After looking into a policy on conference funding used by Bloomsburg University’s student government, Foley became interested in applying a similar standard at Wilkes.

“The thing I pulled from them was how they set standards for their food and it’s a conceptual idea for what we do,” Foley said.

Junior class vice president  D.J. Rembish claims that an increase in conference funding requests is the reason for the recent adjustment to the allocation of funds. Foley suggested that the cost of conference funding is part of a bigger SG spending audit that will also include fund request for trips.

Instead of relying on SG to cover the full cost of conferences, Rembish suggests that students try to pay their own way through fundraising.

“I suggest that they do fundraising earlier on, once they find out that there is a conference coming up,” Rembish said. “Coming to us should be more like a last resort.”

Although SG encourages students to fundraise their way to conferences, fundraising for their own events will not take place.

A detailed breakdown from students is a possible revision of the conference funding policy under discussion. If SG decides to follow through, students will be expected to provide brochures or receipts that prove each expense when they come to SG for their conference funding needs.

“We are looking for researched and justified budget cost because what we do in the real world is have hard figures quoted with documentation to back it up,” Foley said.

According to SG faculty advisor Dean Mark Allen, the purpose of providing research and documentation is so students will accurately reflect how much the conferences are going to cost and what exactly the money is spent on. In turn, SG will be able to provide the appropriate funding while ensuring that there is enough of the student activity pool to go around.

“The only real change this year in looking at conferences is making sure that there’s a accountability for money that is spent,” Allen said. “That accountability of a fund request is not a lot different than any other way in which student government approves funding for their own campus wide projects.”

When deliberating a fund request SG considers a variety of factors including the amount of community service the club or organization has done, fundraising attempts, how their attendance will benefit Wilkes and the possible impact of the schools representation.

Each of these elements is key to SG deciding whether funding the conference is an appropriate use of the student activity pot.

“One of their central responsibilities is to try to actively make the best use of the money that 2,300 students have given them,” Allen said.

SG believes attending conferences is important for Wilkes students as it benefits them academically and reflects positively on the university. To fairly allocate funding request of all types, each proposal will be dealt with individually and funding decisions are up to the board. According to SG president, Kristofer Rivers, attending conferences will continue to be a supported activity of SG.

“We want to support our students in whatever they choose to do,” Rivers said.