Whitewater Club, SAW among beneficiaries in new budget

Molly Emmett

Every year, the Finance Committee of the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) makes a budget for the school year that represents the needs of the student body. Looking at the ASWC budget for this school year (fiscal year 2012) compared to the budget for last school year (fiscal year 2011), there are some notable amendments.

Some  clubs, like  The Secession, have no money this year because they missed the deadline to submit a budget request last spring. There are clubs that gained funds this year because they demonstrated increased need, and others have less because they may not have used all they expected to use last year.

There are notable budget changes such as the increase in Panhellenic’s budget and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) receiving no money. According to IFC President Peter Olson, ’12, IFC did submit a budget request but it was lost somewhere in the process. Olson is working with Matt Dittrich, ’12, and the President of Panhellenic to rectify the  situation.

IFC uses the portion of their budget given by ASWC to fund events that benefit the entire campus.

“Thus for first semester, the events that these include are security guards for the all campus rush parties and putting on other all campus events. If we do not receive ASWC funding, then we will not be able to do these things this semester,” said Olson in an email.

However, IFC does collect dues from the fraternity members, which generally go to Greek-related events. Olson intends to use this portion of the budget to make sure IFC’s usual events happen, at least for this semester.

This year, ASWC Finance hopes to focus on, “really listening to student initiatives, and working with students to amass the financial resources needed to bring well-crafted ideas to fruition,” said senior Fritz Siegert, current chair of ASWC’s Finance Committee.

One such student initiative is Student Agriculture at Whitman (SAW). Headed by junior Natalie Jamerson, SAW engages in agriculture projects on campus, and in particular, growing produce that it sells to Bon Appetit. SAW pursued club status for this year so that it could reap the benefits of ASWC’s support.

“ASWC empowers recognized groups [by] . . . not only [giving us] a club budget to spend on campus activities, [but also] gaining more recognition and validation for our projects,” said Jamerson through email.

Like SAW, the Whitewater Club’s budget increased significantly. The club’s mission is to facilitate whitewater experiences above and beyond what OP trips can offer. This translates into trips tackling challenging runs in the class III, IV and V categories. However, in the past year the Club has worked to  incorporate  more beginner kayak and rafting trips to include more of the Whitman community.

“These trips allow Whitman students the  opportunity to get in to the whitewater community,” said Club President Adam Michel, ’12, in an email.

Whitewater Club uses its money to subsidize gear for the rafting trips because most people do not have their own equipment, and to cover travel expenses.

“ASWC funding allows us to include more people in our activities and travel to the beautiful rivers that are in the Pacific Northwest,” said Michel.

In order to fund any student initiatives, a student association fee is collected from each enrolled student. This year the fee is $316.00 from students’ tuition, a lower amount than previous years due to an initiative by the previous Finance Chair, Matt Dittrich, to decrease the cost. As this year’s Finance Chair, Siegert has his own vision for student advocation.

“The reason I ran for Finance Chair was to work with students: to tell them their idea is doable and see them light up,” said Siegert.

Each year, ASWC funds almost every student organization, activity or opportunity. These include productions like The Pioneer, KWCW, club sports, WEB and other clubs: and many of the related trips and events.

In order to obtain funds, however, a club has to be officially recognized by ASWC. This process is facilitated by ASWC’s Clubs Clerk, junior Allison Burns, and a club must fill out a form in the ASWC office as well as compile a half-page description of what it will offer the student body. To be considered, a club should have held meetings, have some sort of order and objective, and be able to cite specific members.

One club that has been recognized at Whitman for several decades is Drama Club, which requests funds annually through the budgeting process. This year, it has been allotted about the same amount of funds as last year, which it uses for ticket purchases for its annual Spring Break trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, as well as scholarships for the trip and other miscellaneous needs.

“In the past the committee has been  generous  and supportive. We hope that the new committee will continue this  tradition,” said Vice President of Drama Club, senior Jack MacNichol.