Board announces online allocations process


By Abbey Reighard / Staff Writer

In a move to be more efficient and eco-friendly, the Student Government Board moved allocations requests to an online format. 

Student groups can now submit requests for money from the Allocations Committee online. The committee, along with the Board, oversees the distribution of $2.6 million Student Activities Fund, to which each student pays $80 each semester.

SGB announced the digital transition at last night’s public meeting at 8:45 p.m. in Nordy’s Place to an audience of about 30 people.

Last Saturday, Board members held an information session on working the online requests system in room 837 of the William Pitt Union. Allocations Committee Chairwoman Nasreen Harun and SGB Board President Mike Nites organized the event, which included about 40 students representing their different clubs and organizations, Allocations Committee members and Board member Mona Kazour.  

Harun led the information session and taught the students how to submit allocation requests online. Student groups can access the forms on SGB’s website and fill them out accordingly. 

“Our job is to distribute the money as fairly as possible, according to the allocations guide, and to try and make students’ overall campus experience as great as it can be,” Harun said. 

Nites said that moving the allocations request online will make the process easier for student groups to make allocations requests. 

He said the online format would be less confusing than the paper format because there are links that guide students throughout the entire allocations request process. The online format includes links for students to click on if they have questions about the request or are confused about what information to include in their request.

Nites said that in the past there was often confusion as students made requests for their student group, and the information on the request form would be incorrectly filled out. 

“If it was really bad sometimes we would have to delay the request at the meeting and then have the student resubmit a request for the next week,” Nites said. 

Nites said that the online allocation requests will also help to decrease paper use for allocations by about half and give the Board and the Allocations Committee a digital record of all requests. 

“With 13 people on the Allocations Committee and nine Board members, the allocations could get lost or sometimes students would take the original copies with them,” Nites said. “Now we’ll always have a record of how much [the organization] asked for, what they need the allocations for and what the Board and committee decided.”

According to Harun, there will be two types of online requests: budget requests and supplemental requests. 

Harun said budget requests are typically larger sums of money that provide funds for student groups on a long-term basis. Supplemental requests are for supplemental activity fees within student groups and are reviewed by the Allocations Committee on a weekly basis.

The budget request deadline is Friday, March 28, at 4 p.m. The allocation supplemental request deadline each week is Wednesday at 5 p.m., and the committee reviews the requests the following day. 

After reviewing the supplemental request, the committee will send an email with their decision to the student-group member who made the request, typically by the end of the day Thursday.

Harun said that committee decisions on allocation requests under $500 are final, and are not debated by the Board. The Board can deliberate on requests over $500. 

With the new online allocations process, student groups have to upload justifications for their requests, Harun said. Justifications include an explanation of the value of the event, past success of the event if it was previously organized by the student group and copies of receipts or emails confirming the event fees.  

For events like conferences, Harun said the committee cannot allocate more than $2,000. Each group can send a maximum of four representatives. Harun said that the committee looks to allocate money for conferences that will provide the attending members with information that could have a positive impact on the entire campus.

“We look for conferences that will benefit the group in the long term, like conferences on how to develop chapters, how to reach out to other organizations, events that could lead to the group bringing back a potential speaker, anything that will have an impact on the whole school,” Harun said. 

According to Harun, conferences hosted by student groups on campus are less likely to be supported by the committee to receive funding because they will most likely benefit students from other campuses in attendance and will not have have a substantial impact on Pitt students.

At the information session, Harun offered students tips on presenting their allocation requests to the committee. 

According to Harun, the committee is also more likely to fund allocation requests if the student group making the request has fundraised for a portion of the cost of the event they needed allocations for. She recommended that student groups fundraise enough money to cover binding agreements in case the Allocations Committee does not fund the groups’ requests.

Harun also suggested that student groups contact their designated Allocation Committee liaisons with any questions about allocation requests, advising that student groups take time to get to know their assigned liaison. 

“They can help catch errors in your request, help you prepare your pitch and give you ideas to make the request stronger and more favorable with the committee,” Harun said. “We are on your side, we’re just trying to keep as much honest and open communication with you as we can.”

The new online system also introduces new ways for student groups to keep track of their allocations. 

Nites said the system includes a General Travel form for student groups that travel locally — such as club sports traveling to their practices — on a regular basis. 

The move to online allocations requests is not the only technological change — the Board is also launching a new website.

Robert Burger, the Student Government Board webmaster, said that he wants the new site  — which will include updated information about Student Government events as well as individual profiles of the Board members — to be a place where students and Board members can “make connections.”

Burger said that he is “working to make the Student Government Board website a place for the Board members and the general Pitt public to connect, instead of relying on word of mouth for information.”

“I want to highlight the accomplishments of the Board members and make them more relatable and transparent to the Pitt community, so that they aren’t just names on a website,” Burger said.  

At last night’s meeting, the Board also passed one of Nites’ campaign initiatives. 

Student Travel Grants, a project Nites organized and launched, will help individual students pay for travel costs while presenting at research conferences. Travel costs include conference registration fees, transportation and lodging, 

Nites said $20,000 from the Student Activities Fund will be put aside for the purpose of Travel Grants, a sum that could potentially increase in the future depending on the number of students who apply for the program.  

The Board will award the grants on a rolling basis until the fund runs out, Nites said. If there is money left in the fund, that money will rollover to next years allocations. 

Nites said the Travel Grants will not cover international travel costs, in accordance with the Allocations Manual. Travel Grants will cover individual students presenting research at the conference, but not for individual students who are only attending the conference. 

“We let student organizations attend for group development, but if we let any individuals attend any conference we would run out of funds pretty quick,” Nites said.

In other action:

Board member Ellie Tsatsos is working on a proposal to make the Quad more student-friendly. Her ideas include adding grassy areas and more places for students to sit.

Board member Abby Zurschmit said that she has been comparing Pitt’s dining menu with menus from other ACC schools. Zurschmit said she wants to use the results to address concerns students may have about their dining options.  

Board member Mona Kazour went through training this week for the Noble Hour, an organization dedicated to tallying the number of hours students spend doing service to help student organizations keep track of their service hours. 

Board member Graeme Meyer introduced a Housing Crisis Relief Fund which would put aside funds for students in emergency situations. The Board will vote on the Fund at next week’s meeting. 

Board member Jake Radziwon said that he contacted Sam Vescovi, Recreational Sports coordinator, to address issues about lights going out and doors being locked at the Cost Center. Vescovi resolved the problems. 


Nrityamala requested $882.42 for a competition in College Park, Md. The Board approved $688.59 and denied $193.83, a portion of the costs.

Pittsburgh Club Baseball requested $7,250.61 to purchase two sets of new uniforms. The Board approved $3,491.02 and denied $3,759.59, a portion of the costs. 

Roller Hockey Club requested $8,640 to cover rinktime costs. The Board approved $2,700 and denied $5,940, a portion of the costs. 

AIDPitt requested $1,996 to attend conference in Austin, Texas. The Board approved the request in full in line with the Allocations recommendation.

Engineers for a Sustainable World requested $1,026.72 to attend a conference in Evanston, Ill. The Board approved $846.20 and denied $180.52, a portion of the costs.

Pitt Rugby Football Club requested $2,729.26 to compete in a tournament in Nashville Tenn.  The Board approved $1,794.44 and denied $934.28, a portion of the costs. 

Panther Swim Club requested $2,689.09 to compete at an invitational tournament meet at Penn State University. The Board approved $1,124 and denied $1565.09, a fraction of the costs.

Model United Nations requested $2,692.76 for a competition at the College of William and Mary. The Board approved in full.

PantheRaas requested $1,511.28 for a competition in Bloomington, Ind. The Board approved in full in line with the Allocations recommendation.

Pitt Women’s Volleyball Club requested $13,056.28 for a competition in Reno, Nev. The Board approved $8,200.28, a portion of the costs.

Pitt Ski and Snowboard Team requested $1,003.44 for a competition in Claysburg, Pa. The Board approved $1,003.44, a portion of the costs.

Strong Women, Strong Girls requested $1,515.62 for transportation to group mentoring sessions. The Board approved in full in line with the Allocations recommendation. 

The Pitt Pulse requested $1,400 to cover printing costs of their next issue. The Board approved $1,381.73 and denied $18.27, a portion of the cost. 

Performance Collaborative requested $2,459.36 to attend a conference in Mobile, Ala. The Board approved $1,959.36 and denied $500, a portion of the costs. 

The Board has allocated $77,493.05 so far this year.