UMN’s Professional Student Government amends grant policies

New changes limit the amount groups can spend on food.

With decreases in student service fees for University student groups, PSG’s grant funding is currently $77,000 — the lowest in four years.

Professional Student Government Public Documents

With decreases in student service fees for University student groups, PSG’s grant funding is currently $77,000 — the lowest in four years.

David Clarey

Securing funding for food at Professional Student Government events may be harder to come by with new amendments to the group’s grant policies.

In a March 28 meeting, Professional Student Government made several amendments to its grant policy. The changes prevent requesting two types of grants for the same event; limits the distance from campus social events can be held while still qualifying for funding; and cuts groups’ food funding for academic events to $500 per year.

Groups can currently receive up to $2,500 each semester in grant funding. Until now there were no limitations on how much grant money could be spent on food.

With decreases in student service fees for University student groups, PSG’s grant funding is currently $77,000 — the lowest in four years. Because of the lower grant pool and increased number of fund requests, PSG is struggling to stretch the available grant money for the rest of the academic year.

In an email, Brynna Nelson, PSG Secretary of Grants, said while there weren’t specific reasons, the changes aim to “get PSG’s policies to better align with its overall goals as an organization.”

Dane Thompson, vice president of PSG, said the organization wanted be “more responsible” with its funding and that the changes could lead to a more sustainable grant pool.

“Ultimately, we need to get more grant funding [like in 2015-2016] … we just need to make sure we’re giving out money for the right things. I think a result could be grant money lasting longer in the semester,” he said.

While many of the changes help clarify vague policies, Nelson said food funding requests were a “serious issue.”

She said requests for academic grants are often solely for food.

“Food isn’t a necessity but space and materials are,” she said.

In previous months, grant funding for food has been restricted due to low funding. And while food is a large portion of academic grants, the discussion when voting on the amendment was not contentious, Thompson said.

Still, he said, next year when organizations apply for grants and realize the changes, it could raise concerns.

“I’m sure there will be some growing pains next year.”