This year’s ASSU Undergraduate Senate plans to use the remaining $743 in its $13,000 traditions fund to sponsor new traditions, a change from last year when the fund’s leftover money was allocated to one-time events and a student group.
The idea of the traditions fund was first proposed by former Senator Alex Katz ‘12 in May 2010. The fund was created in 2010, and has held between $12,500 and $14,500 each year since. Unused money in the traditions fund is automatically transferred to the endowment fund at the end of the year.
“The official purpose of the traditions fund is to preserve traditional campus-wide Stanford events that may be at risk of underfunding,” said Appropriations Committee Chair Nancy Pham ‘14. “The traditions fund’s top priorities are Mausoleum and Full Moon on the Quad (FMOTQ), although there is a pot for other emergency expenses.”
The Senate allocated $6,500 from the fund to FMOTQ and will vote to approve $5,257 for this Friday’s Mausoleum party at its Oct. 23 meeting. The lack of guidelines concerning the fund means the remaining money can be used at the discretion of the Senate. In the past, senators have drawn from the traditions fund in winter and spring quarters for a variety of purposes.
“We don’t just want the money to sit there and not get used, so a lot of times people might tap into [the fund] to help out the junior and sophomore class presidents, since they don’t get a lot of funding to begin with,” said Senate Chair Branden Crouch ‘14.
Last year, senators used $1,400 from the traditions fund to transport students to the USC football game and $300 for a junior class gathering. After learning that they still had $600 left in the fund in April, senators voted to allocate the money to the Product Design Association.
The process of obtaining traditions fund money is similar to other funding requests, though these requests are submitted by email instead of through the MyGroups2 program. Pham said that while a typical group requesting funding has to meet with the Appropriations Committee, the “main correspondence” regarding a traditions funds request occurs online.
According to Pham, a group requesting traditions fund money specifically asks for these funds, and the Senate has not yet independently proposed spending traditions fund money for an event. Both types of funding require the creation of a bill that the Senate has to approve.
At their Oct. 2 meeting, the Senate voted to allocate $500 from the fund to a football game viewing party in front of the Sigma Nu fraternity that was sponsored by the senior class. Though some senators were initially concerned about using traditions fund money for the event, they unanimously voted in favor of the funding bill after two senior class presidents attended a Senate meeting and announced their intent to make the event a new tradition.
“They want to do that every year for people who can’t make it to the faraway games or don’t feel like going to the game,” Crouch said. “That is an event that should be coming back next year and the year after and the year after.”
Though Crouch does not know what other new events will be supported using the remaining money in the fund, he believes that it will be “used to the fullest.”
“When you say ‘traditions,’ there are questions about what counts as a tradition,” he said. “How you are making decisions about the money is a big deal, and we will have discussions about that as the year progresses.”