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UA and GSC Finalize Allocation of $40,000

By Venkatesh Satish
News Editor

The Undergraduate Associa-tion and the Graduate Student Council recently made the final decision on where to allocate $40,000 granted by Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 for small student groups last October.

The UA allocated over $33,000 to 20 student groups, according to UA Treasurer Russell S. Light '98. Of the total amount, $32,000 comes from the provost's gift, and the remainder will be covered with funds from the UA's budget, he said.

The GSC distributed $8,500 to seven organizations, with $500 coming from the GSC's own funds, said GSC Treasurer Lawrence D. Barrett G.

The total amount of money requested from the UA and the GSC totalled about $180,000, Barrett said.

The groups developed joint criteria for distributing the money at a December meeting that was attended by members of the UA, GSC, and the Association of Student Activities, said Katherine G. O'Dair, assistant dean for the Office of Residence and Campus Activities, who advised the groups.

The funds were initially going to be distributed by the proposed Central Allocations Board, a committee that would handle most student funding requests.

After students, the UA, and the GSC expressed dissatisfaction with the idea last fall, plans for such a board were put on hold until the gift could be distributed, O'Dair said.

At the December meeting, the students decided that organizations requesting funding had to be ASA recognized, have no more than 100 members, and have no significant sources of other funding, O'Dair said.

"I liked the fact we could come up with joint criteria. I would like to see more of that in"the future, O'Dair said.

"The philosophy we adopted was to try to fund one-time events and one-time capital [purchases] that wouldn't have happened otherwise. We wanted this money to make a difference," Light said.

"This was definitely an opportunity to help smaller groups to get started and to help them out," Barrett said.

UA, GSC decide amounts

At a February meeting, the UA and the GSC decided to split the $40,000 in a manner that reflected the monetary requests by undergraduate compared to graduate groups, Light said.

Some of the requests that were submitted were denied altogether. Of the 63 groups that applied, 22 were turned away initially because they submitted requests late or did not meet the eligibility requirements, Light said. The rest of the applications were categorized and accordingly forwarded to the GSC Funding Board or the UA Finance Board for determining the exact allotments, Light said.

Finboard met last Thursday to decide the exact amounts, and its recommendations were finalized at the Monday UA Council meeting.

Gilbert and Sullivan Players received the most money, getting $4,100 to buy tools, costumes, and music. They were followed by the Black Theater Guild, who got $3,500 to finance the production Love's Light in Flight.

Finboard gave the African Students Association $3,000 for drums and clothing, and the Tech Jazz Singers $2,850 to buy sound equipment, Light said.

Thistle gets printer

Additionally, the UA appropriated $2,500 to The Thistle to buy a tabloid-size printer, Light said. The Alternative News Collective, which publishes The Thistle, has asked for funds to purchase a printer at a number of the regular Finboard allocations held each term but has been turned down each time, Light said.

"In the past, we've never had the money to fund [the request]. We were pretty happy to give them the money to buy the printer," Light said.

"I'm happy that the UA finally did something right. We're overjoyed," said Pallavi Nuka '98, who works for The Thistle. "Now we can do the whole production process in our own office rather than going to The Tech's office" to print issues, she said.

Finboard decided that the printer should be open for use by all student groups, since any capital purchase made with its funds is UA property, Light said. "It should be available to all student groups since Finboard can't afford to buy a printer for each group" that wants one, he said.

"Student groups are welcome to use our facility - they just need to call us and set up"a time to use the printer, Nuka said.

Funding large, one-time expenses like the printer marked a significant departure from tradition. Finboard usually gives money for groups' operating budgets, but cannot normally fund large expenditures. The additional funds allowed the UA to fund such capital expenses, Light said.

Also, Finboard tried to ensure the money would fully fund projects, so the allocations were higher than those at the spring term allotments, Light said. "It would be embarrassing if we had all this money left over at the end, considering the provost was really generous in giving this money to us."

The Women's Ultimate Frisbee team received $1,432 for uniforms and frisbees, with the stipulation that all purchases remained group property, Light said.

The team often puts on tournaments to generate revenue, and the money could be used toward that, said co-captain Joanna H. Yun '99.

The group received $600 from Finboard's spring allocations. The extra money "helps us out a lot more than than the original amount would have. I am generally happy with it," Yun said.

Circle K, a community service organization, did not get any money for a $15,000 request for a van that they could use for travel to service projects and the student body would be able to use also, Light said.

"We felt that it was too large an amount of money," Light said. In addition, Finboard was not sure who would handle insurance payments and take responsibility for the vehicle. "Those issues would have to be thoroughly addressed before we could fund anything like that."

"The idea for the van was inspired by the need for community service and a way to increase our productivity," said Christopher L. Tang '97, president of Circle K.

"There are service projects that we just don't go to because we can't get there," said Christina H. Eng '98, the group's vice president.

"I don't think we were completely expecting to get the money. The money definitely got to where it's supposed to go. At the same time, we wanted to share the van with the rest of the MIT community" so that students could travel to events at other colleges, Tang said.

GSC distributes funds

The GSC Funding Board decided on its allocations last Tuesday, Barrett said.

The Malaysian Student Association received the most from the GSC, $2,500, which it will spend on bringing in Malaysian speaker give a talk.

The Romanian Student Association got $2,350 for a conference that may feature Nobel laureates, Barrett said.

The Men's Rugby Team got $2,350 to hold a tournament. "Hopefully, that will help them bring in revenue," Barrett said.

The GSC Funding Board meeting was closed to the public, which is not the case for its regular allocations, Barrett said. Having a closed meeting "makes people put a clear and concise proposal together," he said.

While "it's nice to get more information from student groups, it slows down the process," he said.

More funding needed

"In general, student activities are grossly underfunded at MIT," Barrett said. Events like those funded by the grant "are all events we would like to contribute to," but current annual funding levels do not allow leave the GSC that option, he said.

The $32,000 the UA received represents slightly less than what it normally distributes each term, effectively increasing this year's funding by 50 percent, Light said.

"If the provost increased the funding by 50 percent [permanently], you'd see us funding a lot more projects like these," Light said.

"There's no guarantee of another gift," O'Dair said. "There are pockets of money" available at MIT, but it is difficult for students to find them, she said.

"I can help facilitate a program for students to ask for the money, and I have been doing that," O'Dair said.