The Student Assembly senate passed a bill designed to eliminate excess Student Activities funding Tuesday night at their final meeting this semester.
The Actually Saving Money for Students Act, sponsored by Sen. Matt Beato ’09, is a response to the sizeable sum of money that goes unspent every year from the Student Activities fund which ends up rolling into a consolidated reserve. According to Beato, up to $30,000 or $40,000 per year rolls over in this manner, costing each student between $5 and $10 per year.
The consolidated reserve currently has more than $200,000.
“If [the SA] were to spend that money more effectively, other clubs could actually spend that money, which would be helpful, or we could actually cut the fee, which would be helpful for everybody,” Beato said. “A lot of clubs slightly inflate their numbers to make sure they have enough.”
The bill itself would not dramatically alter SA finances on its own. If enacted in full, the bill would ensure that the Executive Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee would receive full information on club spending from the past four years, so that they might allocate funds more accurately.
Ideally, this system would be implemented during the next academic year.
The senate passed the act with unanimous consent.
The senate also debated the Exam Taxi Service Act, sponsored by Sen. Walter McClean ’09. The bill would allocate $1,300 from the Consolidated Reserve to fund a taxi service for students on weekdays midnight to 7 a.m. during the exam period from Dec. 7-17. According to McClean, the program is intended to help students who, after studying for exams late at night, might feel uncomfortable walking back to their residences alone. The money allocated by the bill would pay for taxi rides for such students, allowing them to ride for free.
SA Secretary of Health and Safety Katie Dixon ’09 spoke in favor of the bill.
“There is essentially no one to call but Campus Police, and people don’t always feel comfortable calling Campus Police,” Dixon said.
A similar program was implemented by the College administration last year.
The senate received the bill enthusiastically. Sen. Ben Brown ’11 asked whether there is “any system in place to keep students from abusing [the service],” saying that students could misuse the taxi service. Dixon responded that cab drivers would not be required to discriminate between destinations, but that the service would only run Sunday through Thursday night, decreasing the opportunity for abuse.
The bill passed unanimously.
Sen. Sarah Rojas ’10 introduced as new business the William and Mary in Richmond Internship Act. The bill is intended to help launch an official internship program for College students with the Virginia General Assembly, ideally offering academic credit from the government department.