Senate spent last night tackling the 2017-2018 Senate Budget, which allocates resources for Student Senate recognized organizations as well as internal budgeting costs.
The final budget came out to $1,132,515.00 after small changes were made to group funding. Money for the Senate’s budget comes from the Student Activity Tax, $88 of which is paid to the Student Senate from each student.
The Alpine Racing Team, Good Five Cent Cigar, Sailing Club, Senate Administration, Senate Interest, Student Entertainment Committee and WRIU Radio make up 81.63 percent of the budget, with close to $924,000 allotted for these organizations.
The most significant debate of the night came into fruition when “Greek Week” funding came into question run by the Interfraternity Council
A large number of senators were concerned over how the funding of this particular event could actually violate their current funding standards, particularly since the money made during Greek Week goes towards a philanthropic goal, as well as the grey-area surrounding possible admissions fees. The advertising done by Greek life for the event was deemed unsatisfactory for some senators, who noted that Student Senate funded activities must show adequate advertising for activities or programs, which some senators deemed there has been a lack of for the past few years.
In an effort to get Greek leadership to put forth stronger efforts into advertising and meet Senate standards, the Student Senate voted to cut the Greek Week funding from $8,500 to $5,000 for both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, who were allotted the same funding for Greek Week.
In addition to the budget cut, the Senate issued a stipulation that both organizations must submit a report on Greek Week admissions, attendance and advertising within a month of the event’s end. If the organizations failed to submit a report, the Senate could introduce budget limitations and restrictions of funds.
The Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council saw a bump in funding for Diversifying Individuals Via Education, Rhode Island Conference (DIVE RI), raising their funding for the event from $3,500 to $5,000.
The 2017-2018 budget was approved after nearly four hours of discussion.
Director of Housing and Residential Life John Sears participated in “public forum” to discuss the state of URI’s internet and television infrastructure. Starting in the Fall 2017 semester, coupled with reliable and high-speed wifi service, there will be 18 over-the-air high definition channels coming to residence halls, as well as potential expansions to the halls’ main lounge television package. There is also a chance for antennas placed on Chaffee Hall to carry over-the-air television channels for wifi users to connect to, which is not exclusive to the proposed television package.
This change has come after numerous consultations with students, the Resident Board, campus affairs and members of the Student Senate.
“I think it’s the right thing to do and the right time to do it,” Sears said.
The Student Organization Advisory Review Committee has completed stipend reviews of student organizations for the year.
The Student Senate Cultural Committee will be partnering with URI Health Services for Rhody Paws and Stress Relief Day which will take place on the Quadrangle on April 26.