Board introduces new rules to Allocations Manual


Pitt’s Student Government Board is trying to simplify the process by which student groups receive funding. 

Student Government Board President Mike Nites said the Board, which is responsible for allocating the roughly $290,000 from the Students Activities Fund to the 350-plus student organizations at Pitt, is working with the Allocations Committee to add more specific instructions to the Allocations Manual, which guides student groups through the allocations process. Nites and Allocations Chairwoman Nasreen Harun introduced the proposed changes at Tuesday’s weekly public meeting in front of about 15 people. 

Nites said the additions are straightforward instructions — not previously listed in the allocations manual — for requesting money that the Board expected from student groups during the allocations process. 

Nites said he discussed the changes with Harun during an allocations manual revision meeting last Sunday.

Harun said the additions will increase transparency for students within the allocations manual.

According to Harun, the additions were rules “the committee and the Board had already been following in general, so I think finally writing [the additions] down makes things more clear for student groups.” 

One of the additions to the manual will state that student groups organizing an event together should make their allocation requests together.

At the Board meeting on March 3, Campus Women’s Organization requested $750 to show the film “Madame Presidente” on campus. The Board denied the request in full because Brazil Nuts, a cultural student organization, had previously requested $150 for the same event.

Nites said explicitly stating in the allocations manual that student groups working together to plan an event should make requests together would help avoid a similar scenario in the future. 

Nites said the Board and the Allocations Committee will also add to the Allocations Manual that student groups will not be permitted to make multiple allocations requests for a single event.

“The requests should not be made in pieces,” he said.

The Board would, though, make exceptions for students groups requesting additional funds because of any University policies requiring groups to make purchases, according to Nites. 

Another addition to the manual will state that the date of a scheduled event will not affect the Board’s decision to approve or deny an allocations request. 

Nites said student groups should make their allocation requests in advance of the event, so if the request is denied, the student groups will have time to raise their own funds for the event. 

“If the request is not sent in soon enough, so that it is not possible to hear the request before the event, that’s [the student group’s] fault,” Nites said. 

The Board may be adding information concerning Student Affairs affiliated groups to the allocations manual. 

Nites said he and Harun met with some Student Affairs affiliated groups Sunday to discuss additions the Board will be making to the allocations manual concerning the groups, and they will be meeting with the remainder of the groups within the week. 

Student Affairs affiliated groups are groups that receive annual Student Activity funded budgets that are approved by the Board. Those groups include the Resident Student Association, Interfraternity Council, National Pan Hellenic Conference, Pan Hellenic Association, Black Action Society, Asian Student Alliance, Engineering Student Cabinet and Nursing Student Association. 

One addition to the manual states that Student Affairs affiliated groups are allowed to use Student Government Board funds to purchase food for conference events held on campus.  

Nites said the purchase of food would allow the groups to put on longer conferences because attendees will receive meals.

The Board will also add to the allocations manual that Student Affairs affiliated groups are allowed leadership retreats, for which those groups would receive up to $2,000 in funding from Student Government.

That amount would not pay for the cost of food on the retreats, according to Nites. 

Nites also introduced a bill that he, Harun, the Board and the Allocations Committee created, which states that all Student Affairs affiliated groups’ budget requests will be sent to the Board for a final review after the committee has reviewed the budget request.

Nites said it’s important for student groups to be familiar with the allocations process rules and procedures, and they should meet with their allocations liaisons in order to increase the likelihood of the committee’s approval.

The Board will host more Allocations 101 informational sessions.

The Board and the Allocations Committee have held five Allocations 101 sessions so far this semester, and the Board and committee will hold a Budgeting 101 session tomorrow night in room 540 of the William Pitt Union.  

But according to Nites, students need to approach the Board if they need help.

“It is not our role to reach out to every student group,” he said.

In other action:

Board member Nick Hufnagel was officially sworn in by the Board. Hufnagel said Nites and Harun spent the past week “getting [him] situated” in his new position on the Board. 

Board member Brandon Benjamin said Michael Slackman, the Deputy Foreign Editor for the New York Times, will be speaking about the Arab Spring on Campus on March 31. 

Board member Abby Zurschmit gave an update on the BYO(Bag) policy. Zurschsmit reported that since the policy was implemented on Feb. 3, the number of plastic bags used by students on campus has decreased from 15,000 to 4,500. 

Board member Andrew Abboud said he and Board member Sara Klein have completed a survey about campus gym facilities. Abboud said he intends to determine if changes, such as the hours of operation, should be made to the facilities. 

Klein and Board member Graeme Meyer met with Guy Johnson, the Pitt police community relations officer, to discuss safety initiatives concerning pedestrians and bicyclist safety on campus. 

Board member Mona Kazour has been working with the Environmental Committee on the Take Back the Tap initiative, which would reduce the amount of plastic bottles used on campus. Kazour said she will probably introduce the initiative at next week’s Board meeting. 


Original Magazine requested $8,637 to print issue 14 of the magazine and to renew their host domain for the online portion. The Board approved $7,639 and denied $998 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Students for Life requested $652.50 for transportation and security for Dr. Alveda King to speak on campus. The Board approved the request in full in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Club Golf Team requested $1,984 for eight players to compete in two regional tournaments, which would help them get to nationals. The Board approved $1,104 and denied $880 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Institute for Industrial Engineers requested $1,456 to send four people to go to the Institute for Industrial Engineers Northeast Regional Conference at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Board approved $378 and denied $1,078. 

Quidditch Club requested $8,260.46 to send 17 people to compete in the Quidditch World Cup at Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Board approved $2,588.76 and denied $5,671.70. 

Ya’baso Dance Club requested $764.40 for materials for its annual showcase performance. The Board approved the request in full in line with the allocations recommendation. 

POMS requested $1,555.12 to send four people to a conference in Washington, D.C. The Board approved the request in full in line with allocations recommendation. 

The Board has allocated $136,011.31 this year.