ASWC Allocates Savings Fund
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Six project proposals on campus have been slated to receive funding from the ASWC Savings Fund. In the last five years, the fund has accumulated $104,000 available for grants.
Mitchell Cutter, the chair of ASWC’s Finance Committee, decided to open up the funds to campus.
“We’re looking for a benefit to campus at large, and something that goes beyond what a club’s normal budget does,” Cutter said.
The savings fund is ASWC’s repository for all excess funds. A substantial portion comes from leftover club money and the life cycle fund, excess money from campus media associations. The ASWC savings fund has approximately $150,000 total, but $25,000 is being kept for future savings and $15,000 will be used to cover the budget deficit this year.
Tom Howe, a member of the finance committee, agrees with Cutter’s decision. “Ultimately ASWC’s money comes from the student body and it’s only fair that we give it back as well as we can,” Howe said.
A few weeks ago, the finance committee recommended a group of grant applications for the Senate to vote on for passage. Two Thursdays ago, the finance committee voted to put the slate forward. Last Sunday, the Senate approved the slate.
Eleven proposals were originally submitted. Two dropped out, leaving the committee with nine proposals. Proposals were received mainly from clubs, but also a few individuals. Six proposals have been approved.
One of these proposals comes from the Borders As Method (BAM) club. Their proposal has two parts: a community organizing fund and a legal defense fund. Ultimately, the club was granted $27,000, which covers three years of internships for one Whitman student intern and one Walla Walla High School student who would work on ongoing projects involved in community preparedness and response to detention and deportation in the community. The legal defense fund was granted funding for three cases of Whitman students, staff, faculty and/or their families going through detention and deportation proceedings. The fund would help cover bonds, legal fees and other emergency needs.
Jack Anderson, a member of the finance committee, stands in full support of the ICE fund.
“I think this is an issue that’s daunting on us in a way we’ve never seen before. We need to have some sort of system in place in the event that something like this did happen,” Anderson said.
The other approved proposals came from the Glean Team, The Wire’s Circuit Magazine, Sound and Lights, and Society of Physics Students.
The Glean Team hoped to get funding for four years of internships and was granted $10,350, which covers three years of internships. This allows them to guarantee interns for three summer gleans, wherein leftover crops are collected from fields and donated to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank.
The Society of Physics Students obtained $7,500 from the Savings Fund and matching funds from the college to turn a donated Honda truck into an electric vehicle. They plan to donate the car to the recycling department on campus. The group also wishes to participate in a drag race with the community college, which also has a group working on an electric vehicle project.
Sound and Lights submitted a successful proposal to switch their sound system to a line array–a new system of speakers that would offer better sound quality and professional development opportunities for members of Sound and Lights. They were granted $55,435.44 from the Savings Fund and $25,000 from the WEB reserve fund to purchase their own line array system. In the past, Sound and Lights had to rent a similar sound system from a local company for events requiring high quality speakers, now they will save money by using their own equipment.
“This system is something that, if students are wanting to get involved in sound production or sound engineering, is the type of equipment that is recognized as being substantial,” Anderson said.
Spencer Mueller, who also sits on the finance committee, was granted $2,820 to fund six “happy lamps” in the library. These lamps will use light therapy to help individuals struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
“I think it’s great Mitchell opened it up to campus and that any project could come forward. The project for the SAD lighting wouldn’t have been done. There was no funding available from the library, and everyone I’ve talked to is excited about it,” Mueller said.
Each proposal has a different time frame for withdrawing funds. Funding for projects such as the happy lamps and electric vehicle will be immediate. The projects totaled $107,918.82, so approximately $4,000 was pulled from the Contingency Fund to cover what the Savings Fund could not.