Design for America struggles with budgeting

Union Club goes over budget by nearly $3000 during annual trip to

IN THIS FILE PHOTO, PRESIDENT OF THE UNION CHIP KIRCHNER ADDRESSES members of the Executive Board. The E-Board recently discussed Design for America, amongst other clubs.

First on the Executive Board’s agenda last Thursday was discussion of Design for America’s budget. Over the summer, officers from DFA traveled to DFA Nationals, a conference for which DFA-affiliated clubs are required to have a minimum of two members in attendance to keep their affiliated status.

Three officers attended the conference under the impression that the cost of the trip was in their budget. DFA’s budget is $960, but travel, three hotel rooms, and fees added up to $4133.

Ines Roman ’17 said that past DFA officers should have better detailed the process to the current officers, all their first year serving the positions, about the conference. Late notice about the requirement led to more expensive travel and lodging.

President of the Union Chip Kirchner ’17 clarified to the E-Board that this issue would not be voted on during this meeting. His intention was to gather thoughts and opinions from the E-Board and form a smaller committee to assist in resolving the issue.

In March of this year, when the E-Board approved DFA’s affiliation, DFA said that some of the cost of attendance was in the budget, but that the remainder would be made up in subsidies and fundraising.

Conrad Mossl ’17 asked why the club brought three people rather than the required two. The DFA officers said that the previous officers recommended bringing as many club members as possible to gain design and leadership experience.

Toward the end of the discussion, many E-Board representatives brought up how the RPI Dance Team asked for subsidies earlier in the year, and that maybe there was a problem with policy and spending guidelines.

Stephanie Kern-Allely ’18 pointed out that the E-Board cannot expect everyone to remember everything that is discussed at financial workshops, and few people have the desire to read Rensselaer Union financial policy. Many representatives agreed that making more training available would benefit the Union.

Policies Committee chairperson Matt Rand ’19 discussed changes to club classifications. The Policy Committee is planning to change references of recognized to partnered, aiming to clarify designation. Changes will also be made that will prevent community members—Union members who are not RPI students—from having voting rights, access to funds, or holding officer positions in clubs.

Before closing, the Marketing, Advertising, & Publicity Committee reminded representatives to ask clubs for photos of Union activities. The MAP committee is looking to replace outdated photos around the Union.