Revisions to LUCC’s finance legislation regarding funding and travel requests will start impacting student organizations within the next few weeks as Spring Term approaches. Although the legislation was passed in Fall Term, the new regulations will become apparent as the deadline for funding requests is nearing and as student organizations are preparing for Spring Break trips.
As part of this new legislation, student organizations will no longer be able to request LUCC funding for individual events after the second week of Spring Term. This means that going forward, all funding requests for events occurring in spring must be submitted significantly in advance.
This change is meant to diminish the workload of the Finance Committee during budget requests, according to LUCC Vice President Ladora Thomas. The committee reviews budget allocation requests for student organizations’ planned events and activities for the next academic year during Spring Term, and they found it too overwhelming to receive funding requests at the same time, Thomas said.
“[This new policy] will really alleviate some stress,” LUCC President-elect Malcom Davis said. “There’s just not enough resources to continue with rolling base hearings for finances and also reviewing full academic year budgets at the same time in one term.”
In addition to the new funding regulations, LUCC travel guidelines have shifted in a way which might impact student organizations’ Spring Break trips. On-campus events will now be prioritized over travel when the Finance Committee considers new funding requests, limiting the amount of travel that can happen. Campus travel has also been capped at $600 per person per trip.
Because every student pays for the Student Activities Fund in their tuition, which is managed by LUCC, Thomas said that most of the money should be put towards student activities on campus to make sure that every student has access to different events and exposure to different learning opportunities while they’re here.
“Being on campus is a priority because we can’t take 1,500 students across the world or across the country every single weekend or once a term,” Thomas said. “That’s not feasible.”
To qualify for funding for off-campus travel, the event must promote professional development and/or educational liberal art learning, promote equity and be inclusive of all peoples, allow the student organization to fulfill its mission statement and impact the Lawrence community in a positive way, and it must be accessible to and accommodate the organization’s active members.
For example, a Spring Break trip for a group of 10 friends that costs tens of thousands of dollars is not equitable, LUCC Parliamentarian Jessica Toncler said, as these types of trips are not open to the entirety of a student organization and are not inclusive.
However, some travel is still being funded. For instance, the annual Spring Break trips hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Club, whose mission is to provide outdoor opportunities for all students at Lawrence University, ORC treasurer Cesca Ledesma said, are consistent with the amended legislation.
After the finance legislation was amended, ORC adapted their trips to promote equity by creating time to discuss environmental issues and the Native American history of the lands they are traveling on, Ledesma said. She hopes this promotes respect, educational learning and understanding of the places around us and how we are connected to them.
LUCC has been working to deliver information about these new changes to student organizations by better utilizing email—i.e. sending shorter, more concise emails—and their current social media platforms while also looking into different platforms, Thomas said.
“As honest as we can be, we could be better,” Thomas said. “However, we did what we could with what we had, and I think learning from our past mistakes and moving forward is definitely something that we’re going to work on with this new administration.”