The Daily Illini

Illinois student senator submits petition to end senate funding

By Megan Jones

Signatures are currently being collected regarding whether students support the idea of reallocating the Illinois Student Senate’s annual funds to a general scholarship fund. If 3,000 signatures are collected, the question will appear on the Spring 2014 referenda.

Matthew Coppola, senior in Engineering, submitted the petition

“During my time in senate, about a third of the money that the senate has spent is for plastic cups, sunglasses, string bags, hot chocolate, a bow and arrow game and a homecoming float,” Coppola said. “After speaking with many of my constituents, they became outraged by these expenditures.”

He added that the senate has spent more than $8,500 on promotional items. Every year, the senate receives $39,000 worth of student fees.

“This ensures that the money gets back to the students because it is their money and a lot of it doesn’t get back to the students,” Coppola said. “For example, the (Homecoming) float is primarily for ISS just to promote themselves and to reap the benefits of it. These funds are the students money and this is the best way to give it back to them.” 

300 signatures have been collected so far, and Coppola said, “we’ve got a long way to go.”

Coppola devised the idea to cut down on promotional spending within the senate, instead giving financial support to the students who need it. 

The signatures are due to the Campus Student Election Commission on Feb. 25.  

Several senators debating on the issue can be read on Reddit.

Additionally, the student senate’s Treasurer Kevin Seymour submitted a judiciary petition to clarify whether the senate needs to follow the Illinois Open Meetings Act after it violated its constitution on Feb. 5. 

The College of Law’s Moot Court met earlier on Wednesday and declined accepting the case. Student Body President Damani Bolden will now have to elect an independent student organization to serve as judiciary. 

Breaking down Illinois Student Senate fund allocations for 2013-2014   

1. Student Loan Interest Rates, $26: Provided reimbursement to individuals who traveled to advocate for keeping the interest rates for student loans capped at 3.4 percent

2. Quad Day, $2,839.79: Purchased promotional tools, such as drawstring bags and plastic cups, handed out on Quad Day 

3. iRent Expansion, $7,998: Provided more i>Clickers to be used for the iRent program, which allows students to rent i>Clickers for free 

4. Business Cards, $49.50: Purchased business cards for the Student Body President Damani Bolden to use while networking 

5. Tea-Light Ceremony, $125.96: Co-sponsored with Students Against Suicide to raise awareness on suicide; the senate bought balloons and helium tanks

6. Quad Connection, $1,680: Purchased sunglasses, cups and flyers for the Committee on Public Relations to organize a table outside the Illini Union on the Quad to distribute ISS giveaways  

7. ISS Operating Expenses, $2,000: While the expense is still pending, it covers the costs associated with general operations 

8. Homecoming Float, $934.20: Rented a float for ISS to use during Homecoming and purchased candy to pass out 

9. Student Debt Awareness Week, $2,515.34: Used funds to host a week dedicated to growing awareness of student debt crises. Costs were used to rent a room at Lincoln Hall, purchase food and pay for lodging and transportation 

10. Cocoa on the Quad, $1,007.50: Purchased popcorn, hot chocolate and cups to co-sponsor an event with Student Alumni Ambassadors to provide refreshments on the Quad during Homecoming  

11. New Member Workshop, $157.72: Provided a workshop for the new members of ISS, which included water, muffins, chips, dip and a media fee 

12. Monthly Senator Emails, $150: Covers the cost of targeted emails to a voting block of students on updates on ISS 

13. Teaching Excellence Awards, $3,528.85: Reserved the venue and entertainment for the Teaching Excellence Awards 

14. Fall Advocacy Day, $175.85: Hosted the Fall Advocacy Day in Springfield, IL and the expenses paid for transportation and folders 

15. Hunger Games, $2,500: Co-sponsored an archery battle with the Illini Union Board for Illinites 

 16. Activity Day, $5: Covered registration costs for Activity Day 

17. ABTS Winter Conference, $2,336: Covered lodging, transportation and registration for senators to attend the Association of Big 10 Students Conference 

18. Facilities and Services Bike Lane Improvements, $6,000: Repainted 1.2 miles of bicycle lanes  

19. ISS Co-Sponsorship of Engineering Open House, $1,000: Co-sponsored the Engineering Open House, which allowed ISS to be included in promotional tools 

20. iLove Illinois Week, $508: Co-sponsors with the 1867 Society and Student Alumni Ambassadors; the senate purchased cupcakes and electronic advertisements   

Megan can be reached at [email protected] and @meganash_jones. 

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