May 3, 2012

Seeking accessibility

As the year comes to an end, Student Senate Finance Committee Chair senior Sara Ahmed reviews her goal of making funds more available to students.

Ahmed wanted to change the appearance of the Finance Committee so that clubs and organizations would feel more comfortable requesting available funds, which have been underutilized in the past.

“Usually, Finance Committee ends up with a lot of money at the end of the year because we don’t spend it and I think that clubs were not aware that they could come for money,” Ahmed said.

A potential increase in the scale of club events acted as motivation for Ahmed, who looked to change the perception of the Finance Committee on campus.

“The past treasurers, before Gordon, were quite strict and weren’t working for the students as much as they were working against them. So what I wanted to do was be more accommodating and spend as much money as we could, without being reckless of course, and have bigger, better events,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed considers her goals at the beginning of the year to have been accomplished and that student clubs and organizations have used available funds to a higher degree. She attributes these developments to a new position of approachability taken by the committee.

“I feel like we spent quite a bit of money compared to years past, and that we’ve had better events so far. I think that we’ve been more lenient and that clubs and organizations have been comfortable coming in and asking for funds,” Ahmed said.

However, budget constraints have occasionally hindered the ability of the committee to fill all student requests.

“Sometimes we can’t give them the full amount because we have budget constraints; that’s not understood all of the time, so we get heat for that. I didn’t know that being treasurer was this stressful. There’s a lot of thought that goes into the budgeting process and trying to be fair to everyone [and] not having any biases,” Ahmed said.

Senate rules and by-laws have also contributed to certain obstacles this year, according to Ahmed. She will use the remainder of her time as committee chair to work toward eliminating unnecessary restrictions.

“I think our rules right now are pretty restraining. I feel like the by-laws are very specific so we kind of lose discretion when making decisions. Over the next week to week and a half, we will look to change our by-laws to make them more accommodating for the student body,” Ahmed said.

Looking back, Ahmed attributes her success to her fellow Finance Committee members.

“I think that our time this year was well spent, I had a good group of people to work with in finance committee. We had different opinions but had the same goal of giving students as much financial support as possible. It made our meetings go much smoother,” Ahmed said.

Julian Boireau
Julian Boireau is a senior majoring in international relations and minoring in French. This is his fourth year working for TKS, having served as co-news editor during his sophomore and junior years. He has been involved in journalism for seven years, serving as opinions editor of the newspaper and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, California. In September 2012, Julian received press credentials to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where he reported on remarks by President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He is also the recipient of back-to-back first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association for front page layout.

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