In its first meeting of the semester Monday, the Student Fee Review Board implemented changes to increase student involvement in the financial process that determines student fee distributions.
Involved in developing the changes this summer were Quinn Girrens, the SFRB chair; Blanche Hughes, vice president for Student Affairs; and CSU administration. All parties hope to achieve increased organization, transparency and communication between students and university departments.
This year, SFRB liaisons have been assigned to each department director to act as the department’s primary communicator and connection to the board. Liaisons, who had limited communication with directors in the past, are now required to make contact at least once a month and report back to the board with updates.
“All of the directors are really excited about this,” Girrens said. “It cuts down on their time to come and present and having to relay question to question to question.”
The SFRB, a student committee charged with approving the use of $31 million in student fees, serves as a system of checks and balances for fee proposals. It also makes recommendations to CSU administration and the CSU System Board of Governors for each request.
In the fall, the board gets acquainted with university departments and acts as a watchdog. Members of the board follow the money allocated in the previous fiscal year to make sure that it has been spent as promised.
In previous years, department directors had to individually develop and present proposals for student fee increases to the board for approval. If approved by SFRB, senators on the board drafted legislation to be voted on by the senate, which was then sent to the BOG for final approval.
While the review and approval process has not changed, directors have to submit their financial proposals and past budgets to the board earlier in the spring than in the past.
Liaisons, who act as an extension of the student body, will provide oversight and recommendation to directors. They will help to develop fee proposals that are presented to the board for review in the spring.As part of the changes, SFRB welcomed two new advisors to the board: Mike Ellis, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, and Allison Dineen, vice president for Finance.
“It’s the new face of SFRB,” Girrens said. “[Dineen] knows budgets like the back of her hand, and she’s able to explain to you how [the money] is all going to fit into the big picture.”
Dineen said working with SFRB was a natural connection because of her experience with the university’s finances.
“I’m looking forward to working with the students,” she said. “I believe that the intent was to provide senior level administration guidance to the board, especially with respect to finances.”
Girrens and current members on the board encouraged student involvement in SFRB.
“I got involved with SFRB because I wanted to find out where my money was going,” said Carrie Krol, senior psychology and technical journalism double major. “I think that the board gives students a stronger voice.”
Currently, 14 of the 19 board seats are filled. Students can pick up applications in the Associated Students of CSU office in the Lory Student Center.The board meetings are open to the public. SFRB meets Monday at 4 p.m. in senate chambers, located across from the ASCSU office.
ASCSU beat writer Madeline Novey can be reached at email@example.com.