Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Swarthmore Society of Engineers
Mercer Borris ‘16 requested a transfer of $283.00 from the Society’s student labor subcode to their special events subcode. Borris explained that the Society hasn’t had an active treasurer for over a year, so the spring budget is now inaccurate. The Society rarely uses student labor, she said, but they do need the money for special events such as the Crum Regatta and the engineer’s prank in April.
Committee members asked what specific events the money will be used for, and Borris explained that it is “hard to say now.” Events like the April Fool’s Day prank are topical (last year they recreated the Crum Creek Meander inside Sharples) so, at this point, it could be anything.
After a short discussion on the general policy on transfer, full funding was proposed and passed unanimously.
Swarthmore Chinese Society
Two representatives from the Swarthmore Chinese Society requested $202 to fund a “1,000 Dumplings” dinner event. This dinner would be held at the Friends Meeting House, and open to the whole campus. Last year over 150 people attended the event, and roughly 1,200 dumplings were prepared.
The Society requested money for transport to Chinatown, printing flyers, and food. Full funding was proposed, and passed unanimously.
Bill Fedullo ‘16 of Small Craft, Swarthmore’s literary magazine, requested $275.00 to fully fund this year’s issue. The magazine typically runs 84 pages, which costs $2,500, but selections for this year’s issues total 94 pages, so supplemental funding is needed. While printing two issues each year usually gave Small Craft some leeway in their budget, their budget was cut during spring budgeting last year so they will only print one issue.
SBC Chair Toby Levy ‘16 said that because SBC cut Small Craft’s budget, they are committed to fully funding this single issue. SBC manager Dylan Gerstel ‘17 agreed, saying that because the magazine can only publish one issue, it makes sense that it would be slightly longer. Full funding was proposed, and passed unanimously.
Group Charter Discussion
After proposals, SBC continued last week’s discussion of the group chartering with Student Council Co-President Sun Park ‘16. They first discussed criteria not just for creating a group, but for a mid-year assessment for all groups. If a group was allotted money from SBC but hasn’t been spending it responsibly (or at all) it could be taken back by SBC, rather than rolled into capital replacement at the end of each year. The process of checking in with groups will take a few different forms: first would be checking the budget, later in the year SBC would check in to see how events go.
Park said that this is an expansion of the idea she had. She wanted to simply check-in on a group’s spending at the end of each semester. That system would be more of an opt-in model that places the burden on group leaders: if student government did not hear from a group, they would revoke funding. “Just because a group has existed for a long time doesn’t mean they’re active,” Park said, and there are new groups doing a lot of work on campus, so this system would be in place for all.
Levy brought up the idea of a funding cap for new groups, which SBC member Annie Tvetenstrand ‘16 mentioned last week. Levy said now that SBC is regulating groups (through stricter chartering criteria, regular check ins, etc.) a first year group cap makes sense. He discussed using not a monetary cap, but rather an event cap. That is, allowing new groups to have one event to see how it goes. Gerstel liked the idea of a test period, but Park asked how SBC would determine if an event was successful.
SBC member Joshua Wolfsun ‘16 said he was worried about micromanaging student groups, saying he “would caution against being overly paternalistic.” Levy agreed, saying “we have to find a middle ground. We don’t want to be too paternalistic, but a lot of the issues we have are from letting groups roam freely.”
The final topic of the night was whether SBC should charter and fund former Project Pericles groups. These groups are funded by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility for up to three years, and after that time, said Wolfsun, are meant to be self sufficient, as the grant are seed money.
SBC agreed that because the student activity fund paid for by students, it should serve students. Wolfsun said that Pericles groups doing projects off campus are admirable, but funding those events is not what the student budget is for. “There are certain things I don’t think we need to pay for,” agreed SBC manager Yein Pyo ‘16. SBC members also pointed out that sometimes Pericles groups do not understand the limitations of SBC funding: after years of being funded by the Lang Center, they can have big expectations.
Levy closed the meeting by summarizing what SBC had agreed on about group charters: minor changes to initial chartering process, a mid year assessment, establishing a mentor program for group treasurers, and perhaps a cap for new groups. After asking for any further comment, he encouraged members to continue to brainstorm ideas, and said that Mike Elias, Assistant Director of Student Activities, Leadership, and Greek Life, would be attending next week’s meeting.
Annie Tvetenstrand ’16, mentioned in the above article, is also Arts Editor at The Daily Gazette.