SA grants 40K to research and travel fund

On Wednesday March 6, the Student Association approved $40,000 in funding to the Geneseo Foundation for the undergraduate student research and travel grant program for the 2013-14 academic year.

SA has partnered with the foundation to support the undergraduate research and travel grant program since 1989. According to the proposal, “the program supports students interested in research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study.”

According to SA President senior Carly Annable, funding has increased over the years in response to increases in demand from interested students and costs.

The proposal highlights increases in funding from SA that occurred over the past three years. In 2009, SA increased funding from $22,500 to $30,000, and again in 2010, from $30,000 to $40,000.

Despite lowering the maximum award from $650 to $600, as well as capping the maximum funding for group applications, the foundation is struggling to support the growing popularity of the program.

The foundation reported a record number of applications for the final spring semester deadline. There were 127 requests totaling in approximately $60,000, thus bringing the final number of requests for the 2012-13 year to 204, totaling approximately $93,000.

According to SA Director of Business Affairs senior Casey Howard, SA only approved $25,000 in funding for the 2012-13 year as a result of the foundation’s late request.

“Right now, we’re a little more comfortable in terms of our finances,” he said. “At this point, they’ve come a lot earlier. Last year they came in April, while this year their first reading was in February. We have a little more flexibility in our budget to allocate that money.”

Howard also noted that in 2012, SA gave a $75,000 increase to the spring concert, while this year they only gave $30,000. According to Howard, that additional $45,000 gave SA more flexibility to allocate funds to the foundation and other organizations.

Further, Howard explained that SA would not have to allocate money from the reserves in order to support the foundation’s request. “This will not require us to dip into reserves at this point,” he said. “Without any large request that we have not already been made aware of, I can’t imagine any organization asking for more than $30,000 at this point in the semester.”

According to both Annable and Howard, the question of whether or not SA should budget for the foundation’s request has been controversial, since the funding comes from student activity fees.

“This has been on our radar,” Howard said. “We’ve known that the foundation would come with a large request.”

According to Annable, the request is not allocated in the budget so that each executive board makes their own decision on whether to allocate the funds.

“I think it’s important for SA to put value in a diverse way of reaching out to students, not just necessarily through clubs and organizations,” Howard said. “There’s only so many students that money will reach, and academics attracts a different demographic.”

“Geneseo is a special place in that not many student governments will put money towards research,” Annable said. “I like to think that since Geneseo is such a holistic academic environment, that it makes sense that students are supporting other students that are doing things in the academic realm. We’re also a state school and we can’t afford to get those things another way.”