ASG Senate allocated funds for food and drink to a science policy event and prepared for the long process of allocating winter funding for B and T-status groups in a short meeting Wednesday night.
Harrison Flagler, a Bienen sophomore and treasurer for the Northwestern Science and Policy Action Network, spoke on behalf of legislation appropriating $50.00 for food and drink for a NUSPAN speaker event in early December. The event, the first NUSPAN has run for undergraduates as well as graduate students, is set to feature Aaron Greco, a principal engineer for wind turbine research at Argonne National Labs. NUSPAN has already secured funding for Greco's speaking appearance.
Some senators were wary of the idea of effectively buying food and drinks for a single group, concerned that ASG should not use its Senate Project Pool money for such a purpose. When asked why NUSPAN had not already sought funding from the Institute for Energy and Sustainability at Northwestern or other student groups, Flagler said the goal was to avoid funding entanglements with other organizations.
“We want to set a precedent that this is something we did, so that this event becomes self-sustainable in the future,” said Flagler.
ASG President Ani Ajith proposed an amendment to the bill that would have funded Greco's honorarium instead of food and drink. Ajith, alongside Vice President Alex Van Atta and other senators, argued that it was important to set a proper precedent.
“I don't want to get into the precedent where every time a group wants food, they come to us and ask for money for it,” said Van Atta “It's a bad practice to get to a place where every time someone asks for money for food, we give them money.”
Other senators noted that such an amendment would be disingenuous, since Greco's honorarium had already been paid for. The amendment failed, but the legislation itself passed.
Senate also began to prepare for funding allocations for B-status groups this week. Over 50 student groups have B-status in ASG's funding tiers. This means they share a yearly allocations budget of about $35,000, 2.5 percent of the funding raised through Northwestern's Student Activities Fee. Next week, the ASG Senate will have to approve or amend B-status funding allocations recommended by the Student Groups Committee in a tedious, but critical, process.
ASG also prepared for the impending rollout of several new initiatives in the coming weeks, including this year's 10K Initiative and ASG's new “Greater Than” mental health initiative. ASG Chief of Staff David Harris also advised senators of potential ASG reform efforts over the next few months. The process will include focus groups with non-ASG Northwestern students.