Rensselaer Union Guidelines & Procedures created to benefit new clubs
Student clubs and organizations form one of the most important parts of the Rensselaer Union. In addition to the programming, resources, and services the Union offers, our clubs provide students with a substantive component of the student experience they want while in college.
With this in mind, a priority of this year’s Executive Board and my term as president of the Union revolved around simplification and improvement for the benefit of our clubs as a primary stakeholder.
This priority drove our decision to create the Rensselaer Union Guidelines & Procedures document, which replaces almost a dozen separate documents, as a unified source. This new structure will hopefully prove valuable to new club officers, E-Board representatives, and Student Activities Resource Persons alike as they step into their new roles; while the new document is quite long, it provides a single source of information that is easier to follow than the web of documents before it.
Furthermore, the Board also used this opportunity to make some valuable changes to the procedures for clubs’ benefit. For example, we have reduced the waiting period for newly-recognized clubs by the Union to request funding from four months to two months. We also reduced the requirement for proposal submission from three days in advance to two. This means that clubs now no longer need to scramble to get their proposals submitted on Monday for a Thursday meeting, as proposals can be submitted until close of business on Tuesday.
In the realm of club storage and office spaces, allocations and renewals will now occur with the change of the fiscal year instead of mid-academic year in January. Additionally, we changed the requirement for clubs to explicitly reapply for their office and storage spaces to only requiring this when explicitly asked to by the Board. This was not previously enforced but still presented concerns for clubs looking to retain their spaces.
The Board also tweaked some financial guidelines to take effect in Fiscal Year 2020 for the next budgeting process in Fall semester 2019. For clarity, we standardized the club dues submission deadlines to a set date for each semester—October 15 for the fall, March 15 for the spring, and June 15 for the summer. For travel policies, we will be increasing the Union-subsidized portion of approved club travel from 40 percent to 50 percent, and we are increasing the budgeted amounts for rural hotel rates from $125 to $175, and those for urban hotel rates from $175 to $225. Both of these changes will take effect during FY21 budgeting. For reasons of safety and liability, we have added a limitation to the distance to which clubs can use personal vehicles to travel, which is 30 miles.
Finally, we are replacing “Reception Funds” with “Food Allowances” and increasing it to $4 per Activity Fee-paying member, per semester—as opposed to the previous $3.50 amount. Regardless of membership, the food allowance amount will not exceed $800 per year for each club, as opposed to the $700 maximum for reception funds. By broadening the scope of Food Allowances, we are hoping to support the various ways uses clubs aim to use their food funding while recognizing the limitations on the Union’s ability to subsidize food for each club.
These efforts are impressive, but they would not be possible without the work of Policies Committee Chairman David Raab ’19 and the entire committee; thank you all for your tireless efforts to make this document a reality!