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Student Senate will vote to move funds into its appropriations budget Feb. 26 after it appropriated $4,263 to three organizations during its meeting Feb. 5, around half of its second semester appropriations budget.

Student Senate appropriated the recommended $909 to Tau Kappa Epsilon and amended the two other appropriations to higher amounts. National Panhellenic Council received $2,354, and Helping Everyone Regardless of Orientation received $1,000.

Amending appropriations to higher amounts is a trend unique to this school year and this Student Senate, according to senior senators like Organizational Affairs Committee Chair Garrett Niemeier and International Representative Samantha Mageto.

Organizational Affairs recommended $1,500 for NPHC, which is the maximum amount the committee can recommend for one appropriation. Since NPHC could not fundraise for the conference, each student would pay some out of pocket in order to attend.

Student Senate amended the appropriation to $2,354 to cover the rest of the budget that was not paid by scholarships.

HERO requested $600 from Student Senate, which would cover the remaining costs for their conference trip, but Off-Campus Representative Debrielle Patee-Merrill motioned to amend the amount to $1,000 in order to give each student an allowance for food.

“I just think giving students the opportunity to grow is really important,” Merrill said. “And a lot of times the students who need structure the most are the ones who can’t always afford it without help from Senate.”

Merrill said both groups came with detailed budgets, and both served minority students. She also said she supported the amendment to the HERO appropriation in the interest of equity.

“I had just gotten back from a trip to Disney World with Bearcat Steppers, and I knew just how hard it is to stretch your $20 you get for meals across a five-day trip,” Merrill said. “NPHC had the $150 per diem for food, and HERO didn’t.”

These three appropriations were the first to be passed this semester. No appropriations were brought before Student Senate during its first meeting of the semester or during its Feb. 12 meeting, and two meetings in January were canceled due to weather.

The Organizational Affairs Committee started the school year with $20,000 in its appropriations budget, and Student Senate appropriated $10,275 to nine student organizations last semester.

The committee has only drawn from its co-sponsorships and charitable-donations budgets once each this school year. Around $9,700 are left in co-sponsorships and around $4,000 are left in charitable donations.

Niemeier said the committee only passed one co-sponsorship this year, didn’t anticipate passing any more this semester and typically only makes one charitable donation each year to the St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn executive board.

During the Feb. 12 Student Senate meeting, senators suggested moving funds from the co-sponsorship and charitable-donations budgets to appropriations, which would have to be recommended by the Organizational Affairs Committee and approved by Student Senate.

The Organizational Affairs Committee decided to wait on transferring money into the appropriations budget during its meeting Feb. 14 but changed that decision during the Feb. 19 Student Senate meeting.

“If we need to do it (transfer money), we can do it, but I don’t see a reason to do it right now,” Organizational Affairs Committee member senior Jack Camenzind said. “We can hold off until we have about $2,500 left.”

During the Feb. 19 meeting, Student Senate amended an appropriation to Epsilon Tau Pi, Northwest’s Eagle Scout organization, from $1,000 to $1,500, which passed unanimously.

After the appropriation passed, Niemeier announced that during next week’s Student Senate meeting, Organizational Affairs will bring to vote to move $5,000 from the co-sponsorships budget to the appropriations budget.

Niemeier said Organizational Affairs anticipates two appropriations being brought before Student Senate at the Feb. 19 meeting.

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