RHA plans to increase, advertise legislative distribution fund

The larger pool would allow for more funding requests from students, halls and other organizations.

In the Residence Halls Association Congress meeting Monday, representatives voted to use almost 30 percent of its legislative distribution funds on three of its six current funding requests.

Because the money was spent quickly, RHA might not be able to fund future projects. $2,286 is left in the legislative distribution fund.

The RHA legislative distribution fund is a pool of money set aside each semester to finance events or projects promoted by residence halls and other on-campus organizations.

Student organizations can submit a funding request, available on the RHA page of Residential Life’s website, detailing how much money they need and what the organization will use it for. Then RHA votes to determine if and how much money it would like to donate. The only stipulation for the group that accepts the funds is to mention RHA as a sponsor on any publication or advertisement for the event.

Recent projects RHA has sponsored include the Vagina Monologues and the Mr. Tiger Pageant run by the Honors Learning Community in Schurz Hall.

With only $2,286 left in the fund and three months left in the school year, organizations searching for sponsors could have trouble snagging a donation from RHA later in the year.

“Traditionally, the fund reaches zero by the end of each semester,” RHA Speaker of Congress Kathy Rudd said. “Usually the requests are slow going first semester and we have only a handful. Then people get it together second semester, and we receive several more in the spring.”

RHA President Chris Rucker said he is not worried about the legislative distribution fund.

“In the past we would have 10 times the funding requests we have now,” he said. “Some representatives might be worried, but I’m not because we have allocated about 28 percent of the distribution fund and we are through 25 percent of the semester.”

Last semester, RHA had $2,500 at its disposable in the fund. This semester, with the passing of a new budget, the organization was able to redistribute funds within the org and increased the pool to $3,200.

Rudd said there is the possibility of using otherwise unused funds allocated for other areas of the organization.

With the new reallocation of the Residential Life social fee, effective fall 2012, RHA will likely see another increase in the legislative distribution fund, Rudd said.

“Ideally we would really like to have at least $5,000,” she said. “We are taking on an additional $8,000 with the new social fee, and we want to reinvest it in the hall governments.”

Most of the extra revenue from the new distribution of the social fee will go directly to the legislative distribution fund, Rucker said.

“The goal is for it to benefit everybody on campus,” he said.

RHA Financial Coordinator Connor Wangler said RHA is working on creating a different funding request process for next year.

“There will be two types of requests — one would be for hall governments and individual residents,” he said. “They would receive priority.”

A larger portion of the pool will be devoted to halls and residents, while a smaller amount will go toward outside groups, Wangler said.

“We would hopefully put a cap on how much can be given to outside groups,” he said.

Next year will be a dry run for the new system of requesting funds, Wangler said.

“It will be a lot of trial and error,” he said. “We’re going to try to get the word out and let residents know that they can request these funds. Our goal is increasing knowledge of the process so we don’t have significant rollover.”

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