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First ASSU meeting focuses on new grants, other funding proposals

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After a busy summer that included four emergency meetings, the 15th Undergraduate Senate picked up where it left off during its first meeting of the 2013-14 academic year eager to start implementing new ideas, including several new grants and funding opportunities.

Missing from Tuesday evening’s meeting was Senator Eilaf Osman ‘16, who recently announced her resignation from the ASSU Senate.

Senate Chair Ben Holston ‘15 deferred to the statement from the Senate Communications committee on the new ASSU website – developed by Senator Ilya Mouzykantskii ‘16 this summer – which stated: “Today, we announce the departure of Eilaf Osman from the 15th Undergraduate Senate. Eilaf was an integral part of our team, and we wish her the best of luck in pursuing her work with Amnesty International and the World Bank. The Student Life Caucus will temporarily consist of solely Senator Mouzykantskii.”

Despite the loss of Osman, the Senate is moving ahead at full speed with its projects. Discussed bills, which will be voted on next week, focused on finding more opportunities for classes to acquire the necessary funding to put on class and campus-wide events.

The first bill is a proposal to create a $20,000 Class Presidents Grant, which will give class presidents the opportunity to apply for additional funding to hold class and all-campus events.

As of now, the class presidents are allocated $6,000 annually from general fees, in addition to other funds from university departments and the traditions fund – a sum of $12,500 from the ASSU endowment that funds Full Moon on The Quad, Mausoleum and a senior event.

The grant will be of particular use for the class of 2014, who, in the past, have not been able to create an annual event, leaving the majority of the money to support the sophomore and junior events. This year, the seniors are currently trying to secure funds to host a senior tailgate and viewing party for the Oregon State football game on October 26.

Should the bill be approved, the allotted $20,000 will be taken from the $110,000 in the General Fees Reserve and would ensure that each class has the adequate funds to host well-attended events.

Holston hopes to figure out how this event can be consistently funded by the traditions fund so the senior class can host the tailgate on the Row every year. He noted that the change in the traditions fund could not be done in time for this year because the funding needs of the class of 2014 are too great.

Other funding ideas included a winter event grant to increase the amount of programming during winter quarter and an innovation fund – suggested by ASSU Assistant Financial Manager Stephen Trusheim ‘13 M.S. ’14 – that would allocate $2,000 to every Senator to start implementing some of the ideas that they ran on in their platforms. The Senate took a straw poll on the idea, with 10 senators generally enthusiastic about the fund and four senators who were hesitant or confused.

Trusheim also brought the idea of alcohol reimbursements back to the senate floor, stating, “if the Senate writes a policy, I’m happy to begin funding alcohol out of ASSU-funded money.”

Angela Zhang ‘16 and Nikos Liodakis ‘16 from the senate appropriations committee were both very hesitant about developing such a policy.

“We’ve had some discussions about this, but we haven’t made any final decisions because there are a lot of limitations to funding alcohol,” Zhang said. “The majority sentiment is probably not, but if we do, it will be very limited, and the groups would have to get approval form the University first.”

Zhang mentioned that one potentially legitimate use of this funding policy would be aiding the Jewish Student Association in the purchase of wine for religious purposes. The appropriations committee also mentioned the possibility of funding a senior cocktail party. However, the topic is still very much under debate.

Additional topics of discussion included the new ASSU website and criticisms of the high cost of Cardinal Care for international students. The Senate also passed $9,216 in funding bills for the Class of 2014 and Atheists, Humans and Agnostics at Stanford.