On February 14, the Student Union (SU) Treasury approved all ten appeals filed, representing nine clubs, for a total sum of $43,055.38.
WashU’s racing club’s request for $7,000 sparked discussions about sponsorships and rising material costs.
Each season, the group must make an all-new car, meaning only a certain number of parts can be reused. The group was unable to provide entries describing the individual costs of the materials and parts needed to build the car, but made the estimate based on previous years’ material costs.
Treasury spokesman Mishka Narasimhan said precedents existed for groups that could not provide this cost breakdown. Treasury Representative Jason Zhang noted the difficulties associated with listing items for this group as well.
“I’ve worked with all of you before, so I know how crazy this line item process is,” Zhang said.
A representative of the group explained that the request was mainly for external machinery, the cost of which has soared in recent years. In past seasons, the group has been able to receive sponsorships in the form of free parts or cheap labor. For example, local mechanics have offered to help with welding for the club. However, local businesses continue to struggle and material prices have gone up, so mechanics no longer have the ability to offer free services.
Narasimhan noted that WU Racing was previously awarded $16,000 and did not use the $4,000, meaning the amount of money could be recovered and reallocated. Fund recovery occurs when clubs have received money for a certain cost and don’t use it all, meaning the money is then recovered by Campus Life and returned to the Treasury account.
Following deliberation, WashU rides were funded for the full requested amount.
As the only club applying for event funding at this week’s meeting, WashU’s TedX club requested $9,595 to host their annual TedX speaker series.
Treasury representatives focused primarily on the location of the event and requests for video footage.
Max Roitblat, vice president of finance, pointed out that TedX has free access to other spaces on campus. Each year, the Treasury works with the University to secure certain “premier spaces” free of charge for SU-affiliated groups; these spaces include Tisch Commons and Graham Chapel.
“We’ve advanced thousands of dollars into our overall budget so student groups don’t have to pay specific booking fees for these premier spaces,” Roitblat said. “This is something we’ve already paid for, so if a group uses another $2,000 [for a specific] space, what is the point of having this kind of arrangement?”
The group responded by saying that the boundaries they had to meet led to their decision. The event is held under the licensing permission of TED Conferences, which limits certain aspects of event planning.
The group explained that they can only have 300 attendees attending the event, more and that they will need to apply for an additional license. As a result, they didn’t want to rent a space with a much larger capacity because it would make the speakers feel like they were talking to an empty room. This led to the group selecting Knight Hall as this year’s preferred location.
Additionally, the group explained the value of maintaining the license.
“If we were to violate their guidelines, they would no longer license our events, so we couldn’t call it a TEDx event,” said a representative. “They wouldn’t post our videos anymore, which is one of the most special things for our speakers and it gets their message across to a lot of people.”
Additionally, the group explained that the videographer they chose was more expensive at $7,200, but that the company is flexible in terms of editing, which would be helpful given that TED requires videos to be edited in a certain way. and will return them. if they are not.
Treasury Representative Meris Damjanovic noted that one of the items included gifts for the speakers, which is a violation of Treasury rules.
“I’m just curious why the Treasuryteam thought about funding the entry for gifts since it’s on the restricted buy list,” Damjanovic said.
WU TedX was funded $9,250 after cutting requests for gifts, stickers and snacks.
The final appeal of the meeting was made by WashU Bhangra, a dance group, who asked for $9,450 for additional travel expenses. Previously, WU Bhangra received funds to travel to their second dance competition of the year; however, when they filed their initial appeal, they had not yet been told where the tournament would be held.
To compete, the group apply to a variety of competitions in different locations before being accepted to one, meaning they have little control over travel costs.
The group was later notified that their tournament would be held in Santa Barbara, California, which would require more expensive flights than previously anticipated, costing approximately $500 per person.
Narasimhan, who filed the request, recommended that the group receive $3,273.72 in funding as that amount of money would take them to the maximum travel limit allowed. The travel limit is determined by multiplying $850 by each active club member. Given WashU Bhangra’s previous appeals, receiving $9,450 would take them over the travel limit.
Some Treasury representatives were initially concerned about giving the group more money in addition to previous funds, but during the discussion, many noted the limiting circumstances that made the request understandable.
Treasurer Leena Rai stated that it was not the group’s fault that they were given a tournament that required expensive travel expenses.
“If their mission is to compete, they shouldn’t be unable to compete because the only competition they have entered is unfortunately in California,” Rai said. “I also think it appears to be a one-time extenuating circumstance, and the travel limit is still there.”
While Treasury Representative Justin Kouch noted that the Treasury’s role was to subsidize expenditures, not necessarily fund them in their entirety, Treasury Representative Saish Satyal pointed out that even if the Treasury meets the recommended amount, members of Bhangra would have to pay $150 to $200 out of pocket to have enough cash for flights.
WU Bhangra was funded to the recommended amount of $3,273.72, bringing the club up to its travel limit for the year.
Other appeals were for clubs being funded to travel to competitions or tournaments within driving distance. This included Mock Trial receiving $3,769 for a tournament held in Illinois March 10-12, Women’s Ultimate receiving $1,683 for a tournament held in Kansas March 25-26, WashU Rocketry receiving $5,159 for a competition held in Alabama from 13 to 16 April. , Quiz Bowl received $925 for a tournament held in Kansas February 25-26, and Badminton received $6,340.66 for a tournament held in Massachusetts April 1-2. Club Tennis made two separate appeals so they could travel to tournaments in Kentucky and Ohio. The Treasury team recommended that the group receive $6,160 ($30.80 for each appeal), but after a brief discussion about hotel pricing, one of the appeals was changed to $2,620.
In most of the appeals filed at the meeting, Treasury representatives discussed what the standard funding rate for hotels and gas has been in the past. Financing for hotels, typically done on a per-person rather than per-room basis, ranged from $25 to $35 for funded groups, while gas prices ranged from $0.15 to $0.20 per mile.
As Treasury representatives discussed funding for Club Tennis, Satyal said he thought of $35 per person in hotel funding as an upper limit.
Treasury Representative Kenny Duran asked about the difference in gas financing for some groups.
“What is our motivation for funding certain groups for the $0.20 model versus $0.15?” asked Duran.
Damjanovic responded by saying a conversation between representatives had come up with that number after they noted funding differences.
“I feel like there was a session where we were getting a lot of different gas numbers like 25 cents, 22 cents.” Damjanovic said: “We all sat down to find a reasonable number. It was after gas prices went down and we thought 20 cents a mile was reasonable for most groups, that it’s going to work. If the band wants to go below 20 cents, that’s their prerogative, and we’ve seen that with bands that go 15 cents.”
This theme was also addressed during the Open Forum, which takes place at the end of each Treasury meeting.
According to Treasury minutes, Roitblat said there was a lot of discussion about hotels at the meeting, mentioning that the hotel cap had been $30 per person. She also reminded Treasury representatives that recovery of funds is always an option.
Satyal said it helps to spend more time considering hotel funding to avoid reaching a point where there is concern about how much money is left to allocate.
According to the minutes, Narasimhan said, “Treasury teams should also check hotel and flight prices by themselves. [It] it should not be left to the general meeting of the Treasury. Also, according to the minutes, Kouch said, “He encourages representatives to spend more time discussing and not voting immediately.”