Outdoor rec fund rescued

During their March budget retreat, members of the Student Finance Board (SFB) elected to appropriate money from the Student Activity Fund (SAF) in order to keep the outdoor recreation award alive.

The award, a $14,000 fund traditionally allocated by the College as part of its annual budget and doled out by SFB to student organizations, was in danger of being eliminated at the end of the semester, sacrificed as part of sweeping budget cuts across campus.

But the decision to bankroll the award through SAF funds will save it for at least one more year, according to Jon Borst, SFB executive director. In addition to funding the award with SAF money, SFB members chose to up the total given out to $15,000 a year.

“The College removed the direct funding from its budget this year, so we didn’t have a source of money to keep this going beyond this year,” Borst said. “But then the board did decide to appropriate $15,000 in SAF funds for the next fiscal year.”

As a result, the outdoor recreation award will continue to be given out to both SAF and non-SAF funded student organizations during the 2007-2008 school year.

“SFB recognized that this is something that students look forward to and that it’s something that gives student organizations a chance to do something outside their normal functions,” Borst said.

“It’s such a wonderful program and I’m very glad to see that SFB is funding it,” Tim Asher, associate director of Student Activities and SFB advisor, said.

The award is intended to pay for off-campus activities for student organizations. It originated with the sale of the College’s Mohican cabin in the 1970s, which was used by student organizations for weekend retreats. The money generated from that sale was divied out for use in outdoor recreations until it ran out.

Since then, the College has paid for the outdoor recreation award out of its annual budget. This is the first year that College officials have chosen not to fund the award.

As for the future of the outdoor recreation award, Borst said it would depend on the action of future SFB board members.

“I can’t speak for future boards,” he said, “but I would expect that they would probably continue to use money from (SAF) if funding from the College is not restored.”

This semester, SFB has been relying on money held over from previous years in order to give out awards. Asher estimated this amount to be around $10,000, but Borst indicated that it was dwindling fast.

“There are only a few thousand dollars left before we’re tapped out for this year,” he said.