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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Treasurer delievers State of Finance

Published: April 11, 2008
Section: Front Page

Student Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha ’08 announced that the student body will vote on how to spend a portion of the $260,000 of rollover funds that the Student Union has accumulated at his State of Finance address Monday night. The $260,000 in rollover monies is comprised of money left unspent by clubs and money from the CapEx fund, described as intentional rollover.

According to Ha, after every semester money that goes unspent by clubs reverts back to the Union’s F-board for the next semester. Because of the large amount of money that went unspent this semester and last, F-board has decided to allow all undergraduates to submit proposals for how to spend the money—a decision which will ultimately be made by a school-wide vote.

The proposals—which will be due within the next couple of weeks—should suggest projects which will benefit all students.

“Undergraduate students are stakeholders of [the Student Activities Fee]. They should be able to determine how this large rollover should be spent,” Ha said.

At the State of Finances, Ha also announced that the F-board would cap the Student Activities Fee in light of the rollover.

While in previous years SAF has risen along with tuition, the SAF paid as part of a student’s tuition will remain the same for the 2008-2009 fiscal year as it was for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

Ha also outlined the long-term goals of the treasury in order to try and reduce future rollovers. These goals include reforming the CapEx fund, a fund created two years ago for the “purchase of non-recurring properties.: Ha proposed an amendment that would rename it the Reserve Fund and give it a floor of $25,000. The fund is currently capped at $150,000. The Reserve Fund will not have a ceiling.

The F-board has also come up with a plan to better allocate money to clubs in order to reduce money.

First, the F-board plans on giving incentives to fiscally responsible clubs by giving them high priority over clubs that have spent their funds less wisely.

In addition, the F-Board has instituted a new fund-allocating mechanism, which will reduce the risk of rollover.

Club leaders used to have to request money every time they had an event and often over estimated the funds they needed. After the event, the unused money reverted back to F-board and became part of the rollover.

With the new mechanism, club leaders can request funds for multiple events at one time, thus ensuring that money that goes unspent on one event can then be spent on the next one.

Ha also advocated better financial education for club leaders, citing that he has already made a treasurers manual and treasurers packet and that the Office of the Treasurer website will now be updated “24/7.”

Ha also mentioned that the number of financial transactions rose dramatically this year from 1,459 last year to 2,928 this year.

Because of this, Ha said, it is increasingly important that the Office of the Treasurer, created this year, be sustained. Ha suggested that in light of heavy treasurer turnover in the five years prior to his tenture, Treasurer- elect Max Wallach ’09 establish a chain of command within the Office of the Treasurer for an interim treasurer.

Ha also mentioned that the Office of the Treasurer will institute a new software program by the end of July in order to “consolidate all financial management into one system.”

This would help complete one of Ha’s goals as treasurer—what he calls the “one destination concept”—where instead of clubs having multiple on and off campus accounts, all club funds would be handled by the office of the treasurer.

Ha also announced Student Sexuality Information Service and Punk, Rock n’ Roll Club as the best financially managed clubs this year and thanked Wallach and the rest of the Office of the Treasurer and the Student Union for helping him in his time as treasurer.

“These people have always believed in what I did and been there for me—unless they skipped their office hours,” he said. “They have sacrificed numerous hours a week to ensure that finances run smoothly. They have worked so hard not just for me, but for the entire student body.”