During their penultimate forum of the year Tuesday, the Minnesota Student Association fulfilled a slew of funding requests due to the organization’s large amount of leftover funding.
Speaker Drew Horwood said when reviewing the budget they found about $85,000 left.
Some of the money still has to be allotted to general operational expenses, but the rest makes up the grants fund and the money left over from the year before, Horwood said.
“Just because it’s the end of the year doesn’t mean we have to be done doing things,” he said. “I remember last year with about a month left, MSA shut down and didn’t do anything.”
Funding requests included a student veteran’s dinner, a world fair, legislative advocacy trips, a “College 101” event and additional funding for Habitat for Humanity’s 60K Day.
While most of the requests didn’t pass without some kind of debate, every group left with the funding they came for — a total of almost $18,000.
MSA representatives voted to allocate $4,400 for a fundraising banquet for student veterans, $4,000 for the World Fair scheduled for later this month, an additional $2,000 to 60K Day — bringing MSA’s total to $4,500 for the event — $3,549.90 for a “College 101” event and an extra $4,000 for students to travel to Washington, D.C., for Big Ten on the Hill Day.
Chris Tastad, director of the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition, said he established a budget of $3,400 for the trip more than a month ago based on the rates at the time, but the cost has increased since then.
“There was a lack of communication with the national conference that didn’t allow us to plan accordingly and give us the range of time we needed to set the flights,” he said. “As a result they’re much more expensive.”
Taylor Williams, MSA director of student outreach and engagement and president-elect, said he was concerned about spending all of the money so quickly.
After speaking with Kyle Kroll, chair of the Student Services Fees Committee for student groups, Williams said spending all of the money at the end of the year might reflect negatively on the organization.
“I feel like members are being misled here,” he said. “We’re not being punished by having a carryover next year. It will be spent by the next administration.”
Colin Burke, MSA vice president, argued that “having a lot of carryover would appear negative in the eyes” of the Student Services Fees Committee.
The forum also voted to support converting a lane of parking on Eighth Street Southeast into a two-way bike lane.
The city of Minneapolis estimates this street carries 710 bicyclists per day, making it one of the most heavily trafficked bicycling routes in the city.
The resolution also urges the Minneapolis Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee to move up the planned resurfacing of the street.
According to the proposal, the street hasn’t been resurfaced since 1984 and is currently rated as being in “very poor” condition.
Chris Meyer, a board member on the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association and a columnist at the Minnesota Daily, mentioned that Ward 3 Councilwoman Diane Hofstede, who represents the March-Holmes neighborhood, has signaled that she supports the resolution.
“There doesn’t seem to be anyone who is actually opposed to this, which is very unusual,” Meyer said.
He attributes this to the idea that the residents who live on the street have their own off-street parking and those who do park on the street are students who commute and then walk or bike to the University.
There was some debate on the topic, but the resolution passed with one vote against and one abstention.