SSFC sparks student interest

The selection committee has made final recommendations for new candidates.

Jenna Wilcox

Problems with the Student Service Fees Committee last year motivated many University of Minnesota students to get involved with the process this year.Over the weekend, Megan Sweet âÄî along with the four members of the Student Members Selection Committee âÄî spent their time interviewing applicants for the SSFC.

Their selections will be notified Wednesday and will be presented for approval by the Minnesota Student Association and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly during a joint meeting Oct. 19.

âÄúA lot of them knew what had happened last year and came generally interested in making it better,âÄù said Kevin Nguenkam, a fees selector who helps decide who will make it onto the committee.

The SSFC is responsible for reviewing the fees applications of all registered student groups applying for student services fees. Even larger units, like Boynton Health Service and Student Unions and Activities, all go through this process in order to gain funding.

The Minnesota Daily also receives a portion of Student Service Fees.

Misunderstanding of rules during the joint forum last year delayed the final SSFC member selection until late November. In addition, student groups that werenâÄôt recommended their requested funding ran into problems with a new appeals process.

Nguenkam also noticed an increased interest from both female applicants and graduate students compared to past years.

The four fees selectors were not allowed to disclose who had been selected, how many were interviewed and whether any of them had previously served on the committee.

MSA selector Tyler Hubler said applicants stood out if they were previously involved on campus and had a financial background. Yet Abou Amara, a selector for GAPSA had different concerns.

âÄú[Applicants] need to have an understanding of how serious the position is,âÄù he said.

For many hopefuls, the fact that the position is so influential was the major reason to apply.

âÄúSome people didnâÄôt agree with many of the appropriations made last year,âÄù Amara said. âÄúThey wanted to get involved to have a say on how this money is spent.âÄù

However, narrowing down the multitude of candidates was a difficult task that lasted roughly three days.

âÄúTough would be an understatement of how difficult it was to narrow down the pool,âÄù Amara said. âÄúEveryone brought something valuable to the table.âÄù

Interviewers posed questions in an attempt to dig deeper than the original application, and candidates were given example scenarios about how they would approach various situations as members of the committee.

The selection committee will present a slate of the 22 candidates they have chosen for the position. GAPSA and MSA will have the opportunity to remove two individuals from the committee.

Last year, due to controversies and confusion in policy, the final slate of applicants wasnâÄôt approved for more than a month. This year, GAPSA and MSA are required to attend a meeting to establish rules to prevent another delay, which they will do tomorrow.