SORF Board candidates push to influence campus finances

While the student trustee race is usually the most prominent in the upcoming March 2 and 3 student elections, the results of the election for Student Organizations Resource Fee Board, or SORF Board, may also affect students.

Charles Blatti, head of SORF Board and graduate student, said the purpose of the board is to recommend allocation for the student organization resource fee that students pay each semester.

“We are invested in bringing quality experiences and opportunities to students,” Blatti said.

He said that while the last two elections were not very competitive, students should still pay attention to the board candidates because they will potentially make decisions that affect students and the University.

The board is made up of six undergraduates, two graduate students and three staff representatives who vote and allocate funds acquired through student fees toward Student Legal Services, the Tenant Union and Registered Student Organizations, or RSOs. This year 15 students are running for the eight spots; nine confirmed their candidacy to The Daily Illini.

Josh Gibbs, candidate and sophomore in DGS, said the best thing the newly elected members can do is to just continue as the board has the past few years.

“As long as everyone keeps doing their part on the board, hopefully the students will see a reflection of that, that the money from the SORF fee is being used in a correct way,” he said.

Gibbs added that students should look for a candidate who can make unbiased decisions.

“They (students) should look for someone that they feel will be able to put their personal feelings aside and be objective in their decisions on the SORF Board,” Gibbs said.

The SORF Board meets once a year to discuss allocations for the Tenant Union and Student Legal Service but meets regularly for allocations to RSOs.

Blatti said the process lasts about three weeks from processing applications from RSOs to allocating funds.

He added that RSOs submitted approximately 250 applications last semester requesting SORF funds. The majority of the funding goes toward things such as travel expenses for intramural teams and guest speakers for other groups.

Although the SORF Board only has the power to make recommendations to Renee Romano, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, Blatti said he could not recall a time when there was a disagreement.

“The entire purpose of the board is to make a recommendation,” he said.

Bradley Beebe, candidate and senior in Business, said fiscal responsibility is the most important factor to consider when students are deciding which candidate to vote for.

“I want a little bit more fiscal responsibility with regards to where SORF allocates funds,” Beebe said. “I think the students should just vote for the people they think will be the most responsible.”

Candidate Mengyi Wang, sophomore in LAS, said she decided to run for SORF Board because she wants to see all the different organizations people are interested in and to play a role in the allocation of funds to those organizations.

“I want to reasonably allocate all the money we have to support the organizations as much as we can,” she said.