Hefty Council Sacrifice Pleases Sun God, Shrinks Org Funding Pool

    The financial health of next quarter’s Sun God festival took
    center stage at last night’s A.S. Council meeting. Councilmembers debated the
    community-building merits of the festival and the appropriateness of allocating
    more funding for the event instead of other cash-strapped student organizations.

    Up for consideration was a $30,000 funding bill to help
    cover the costs of revamping and expanding this year’s festival. Associate Vice
    President of Programming Kevin
    Highland
    attended the meeting to
    explain how the council’s decision would affect the event.

    Most of the extra money was needed to cover a reserve fund
    that helps insure against any equipment damage resulting from the festival. The
    reserve amount was calculated as 5 percent of the festival’s $440,000 price
    tag, or $22,000.

    Highland said that
    the remaining $8,000 was needed to fund a new wristband admission system that
    will allow the students to re-enter the festival throughout the day.

    He warned that cuts were already made in formulating the
    request and that not allocating the full $30,000 would force a reduction in the
    scale of the festival.

    Sixth College
    Senator John Cressey said that approving the request would leave the council
    with $14,000 to fund student organizations next fall, a far cry from the
    $75,000 that was granted to organizations for spring quarter.

    “So $14,000 for an entire quarter is ridiculous [and]
    frightening,” he said. “As much as we love Sun God, there are other things we
    do here at council. This isn’t a vote against Sun God. It’s a vote for other
    things.”

    Several councilmembers supported the finance bill because of
    the festival’s unmatched campuswide appeal and downplayed the potential
    consequences of less funding for organizations.

    “Sun God is the only thing that people think of when they
    think of A.S.,” Associate Vice President of Student Advocacy Neetu Balram said.
    “For us not to spend this will disappoint the vast majority of people on this
    campus … They will kill us. If we have the ability to pay them the $30,000 to
    do what they do best I think we should do it.”

    The break from arguments came when the council when Vice
    President of Finance and Resources Sarah Chang said that previously
    underutilized funding from other sources could be used to fund student
    organizations in the fall. The calls for fiscal responsibility died off and the
    council passed the bill to its own applause.

    The council quickly transitioned into its next extended
    discussion when All-Campus Senator Naasir Lakhani reported that the Housing and
    Dining Services Advisory Committee recently responded warmly to a proposal to
    increase the “mandatory buy” for students in residence halls from $2,100 to
    $2,900.

    The discourse lost the divisiveness present during the
    funding debate as councilmembers quickly formed a consensus against the
    proposal. Apparently the mediocrity of dining hall food possesses a unifying
    power even greater than that of Sun God.

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