GSC Distributes $10K to Groups For Spring Term Student EventsBy Venkatesh Satish
The Graduate Student Council Funding Board determined spring semester allocations and allotted $10,460 to 29 student groups on Monday.
The amount will be used to fund a total of 80 events, ranging from cultural programs to parties, said GSC Treasurer Lawrence D. Barrett G.
Requests for money totaled more than $30,000, which persuaded the funding committee to increase total allocations from about $8,000 to $10,000, Barrett said.
In prioritizing the allotments, "we look at the type of event and the number of students that are going to be attending," Barrett said.
The GSC Funding Board favors lectures, cultural activities, and student-faculty mixers over parties but will set aside money for such events provided they are geared toward graduate students, Barrett said.
The GSC received about $22,000 from the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, of which $4,000, $8,000, and $10,000 were allocated for the summer, fall, and spring respectively, Barrett said.
Club Latino received the most funding, $1,100, followed by the Arab Student Organization, the European Club, and the Lebanese Club.
Club Latino plans to use some of the money to help sponsor a conference that will discuss business, technology, and education in Latin America, said Adriana T. Guzman G, the president of the group.
The rest of the money will go toward La Soborcita Latino, a spring party that promotes Latin American culture to the MIT community, Guzman said.
"I think all the activities create awareness amongst the community. [The GSC's] funding process is very good because they want to help cultural and academic clubs on campus," Guzman said.
Arab group sees funding cut
The Arab Student Organization received a total of $800, which represented a cut from an initial allocation of $1,200. At the Monday meeting, some applicants voiced concern about the group receiving funding from both the GSC and the Undergraduate Association.
"There seems to be a problem [because] both the UA and the GSC are unclear on their policy on whether they allow both organizations to fund [the same] groups," said Arab Student Organization President Karim M.E.D. Hussein G, who said he felt the cut was because of this issue.
"There's not enough coordination between the two groups. A lot of the ethnic groups span both" the undergraduate and graduate communities, Hussein said.
The reason for the allocation cut was mainly due to Funding Board procedures, Barrett said.
The board allocates money in alphabetical order and then revisits the decisions, Barrett said. "You tend to give out more in the beginning and then you go back and normalize it."
The board did consider the Arab Student Organization's UA funding in reducing the allotment, but "that wasn't the driving force" behind the decision, Barrett said.
"The amount we have is quite reasonable," but the group does plan to appeal the decision, Hussein said.
Nonetheless, the organization has planned to use its funding in a variety of ways. It will hold a series of events to raise awareness about Arab culture, including a dance, a slide show, and a lecture series, Hussein said.
"We all have to sit down and come up with an appropriate policy," Hussein said.
"The GSC is trying to make its process more similar to the UA's so we can find some common ground," Barrett added.
Barrett said he plans to send to the UAa list of groups who received funding.
European Club plans events
The European Club plans to spend the $720 it was allocated on activities like a farewell barbecue and participation in the International Fair, said Andrew J. Rhomberg G, the group's vice president.
"I received as much as I roughly expected, but I don't think it's fair that the total budget is only $10,000," Rhomberg said.
"The process is generally fair if you bear in mind all the restrictions there are," Rhomberg said. Still, "the rules are not perfect for groups who get allocations from both the UA and the GSC," he added.
Graduate students must make up more than half of a group's membership before the GSC will consider funding them, Barrett said.
Additionally, no group can receive more than 15 percent of the GSC's total allocation for that term, Barrett said.
All of the decisions were approved by a majority of the six-member board, which consisted of Barrett, GSCPresident Constantine A. Morfopoulos G, GSCat-large member Gregory E. Penn G, GSC Activities Committee member Brian J. Schneider G, Association of Student ActivitiesTreasurer William J. Gehrke '97, and ASA at-large member Jeremy H. Brown G.