MCSG grapples with additional allocations in second LB meeting

From meal plans to political student orgs, student government representatives handled a broad array of issues at MCSG’s second meeting of the year. The thorny issue of how to handle additional allocations for student orgs that failed to budget last semester drew significant attention.

The Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) has had to make many additional allocations to student orgs in the past year.

“What happens when a student org doesn’t budget, and they didn’t budget at all for the whole year, and now they’re trying to plan events?” asked Adinah Zilton ‘14, the Chair of the FAC. “How do we have a discussion with orgs?”

There is debate as to whether those organizations that do not budget at all should receive any sort of additional allocations, as their need for such allocations in the first place implies poor planning on the part of the org’s leadership. For this reason, many members of MCSG as well as Dean Jim Hoppe have reservations about determining additional allocations for student organizations on a case-by-case basis.

“I would encourage [orgs] not to do [additional allocations] on a case-by-case basis,” Hoppe said. “I think it sounds good, but everyone’s going to have a different story and case-by-case will become more difficult.”
Sarah Vandelist ’15, a former member of FAC, agreed.

“I don’t think [additional allocations] should be determined on a case-by-case basis, especially if the org didn’t budget at all,” Vandelist said. “But I think that a lot of orgs are going to come in here and say, ‘We had poor leadership.’”

Regardless of the complications with additional allocations, Zilton is excited for what the committee will bring to Mac this year. FAC intends to host workshops for student organizations on how to use OrgSync better this year and plans to choose liaisons to student orgs to help with budgeting issues and securing additional funding.

Beyond their budgets, MCSG also discussed ways to further integrate student organizations with the community. As with many other colleges and universities, Macalester’s close proximity to the state capital provides students in political organizations with unique opportunities to lobby and get involved directly with their state legislature.

However, members of the AAC (Academic Affairs Committee) believe MCSG can do more to provide Mac’s political organizations with the connections they need to become more involved in the local community. They hope to initiate the establishment of better relationships between student and state representatives throughout the year.

“We really don’t do a lot to advocate for our students when it comes to bills that are going through the legislature,” said Zack Avre ’14. “We need to establish better relationships with our representatives to see the ways in which we can engage as a student body, as a student government, with what represents us.”

MCSG also discussed negotiating with Bon Appetit on the subject of meal plans, perhaps by adjusting the amount of Flex points to compliment inflationary grille prices.

“Being a senior, I can think back to freshman and sophomore year; the salad portions were bigger, and they were less expensive,” Zilton said. “It makes you wonder what goes into figuring out prices.”

The Dining Services Task Force starts meeting on October 1, where representatives will be able to voice grievances with regard to meal plan related issues.