The Duke Student Government Senate approved requests for more than $20,000 of its programming fund during its Wednesday meeting.
Senior Alexa Soren, chair of the Student Organization Funding Committee, introduced eight separate budgetary statutes that will draw more than $20,000 from the programming fund. Groups receiving funding included the Muslim Students Association—which sought just less than $8,000 in two separate requests for a speaker and a spoken-word poet for Islamic Awareness Month—and the Duke Catholic Center, which requested about $1,700 for a lecture series event on understanding Mass.
Senate President Pro-Tempore John Turanchik, a senior, asked if the Catholic Center generally requested more money than other religious groups on campus.
“We tend to see the Catholic Center around once a week,” Soren said.
The Coalition for Preserving Memory and We are Here Duke both requested nearly $2,000 for events to be held in April. Duke Ballet sought more than $2,200 for their annual spring showcase, and the Duke Dance Council asked for nearly $3,000 for their spring formal at the Nasher Museum on the same date. Alpha Phi Alpha was also approved for nearly $2,000 of funding for their Pink Ice Gala in late April.
Sophomore Will Hardee, vice president for services, presented and defended a request by the Duke Marketing Club for $16,680 from the surplus fund for the Library Party, which is returning to Duke after being absent for a couple years. The request follows a previous allocation by SOFC of about $19,000 for the event. Hardee explained that in years past, more than 2,000 people have attended the event, which organizers have been planning for seven months. This was only the first reading of the bill, however, so the money has not been allocated yet.
First-year Mycroft Zimmerman, senator for residential life, asked how much was in the surplus fund, which is where this allocation would be coming from. Hardee responded that he cannot disclose the balance of the surplus fund publicly but that it was more than a “rainy day fund.” Hardee explained that the fund was there to support “unique” events, and said that the library party fit that criteria.
Senior Michael Norwalk, vice president for facilities, environment and arts, questioned the use of surplus funds for the event.
“Are we expected to fund this ‘unique’ event to the sum of about $35,000 every year?” Norwalk said.
The budgetary statute will be voted on next week following a public forum.
Junior Kevin Mutchnick, senator for equity and outreach, introduced a budgetary statute to provide $1,500 from DSG’s surplus fund to launch a pilot program that would provide vouchers for students who remain on campus during long breaks.
The program was approved by the Senate, and the pilot will be launched during Spring Break by providing $150 Harris Teeter gift cards to 10 students each. The calculation of funds to provide to each student was based off the $21 per day food point allotment covered in Dining Plan A. Mutchnick explained that the program will be evaluated by whether or not the funds are fully used and through post-break participant surveys.
In other business:
A new student group Lideres Unidos FC was incorporated. The group uses soccer to connect with students in the Durham community, and it has been active on campus for more than a year.
Soren also told senators about the new auditing process that will be in effect for student groups seeking funding through the annual budget. The process will consist of surveys and spreadsheets that will be examined by SOFC’s auditors, she said.
The Senate also approved a DSG initiative introduced by first-year Saheel Chodavadia, senator of academic affairs, for a collaboration between the Academic Advising Center and DSG, which totaled $3,600 and came out of the surplus fund.
Correction: DSG approved a statute from AAC, not a funding request. The Chronicle regrets the error.