Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yearbook is new and improved but funding mix-up impacts Senate budget

By Lauren Rothering
Editor in Chief

Saint Mary’s University students will have a new and improved yearbook this year, despite budget confusion between Student Senate and the Office of Student Activities.

The yearbook itself will be much different than yearbooks past, including full-color pages, more pictures and less clip art. It will also be much larger, and include professional photos of the senior class.

“It’s completely student-run. They are creating their own design, and not working from a template,” said Laura Schmidt, new director of student activities and advisor for the yearbook. “It will be much less ‘high school’ than in years past.”

Most of all, Schmidt emphasizes that this yearbook will be a high-quality product.

“Students should be excited about getting a new yearbook. It’s getting a lot of different students involved in a different manner,” said Schmidt.

Students will be able to pick up their yearbooks at a release party in early May.

Who’s paying for it?
Last year, Student Senate voted to discontinue funding for the yearbook based on lack of student interest. Of the money appropriated to yearbook funds–$10 per student, taken from the student activity fee–$3 was shifted into a student conferencing fund. The remaining $7, said Schmidt, went to a general, “overdraft” fund, which is often used for capital improvements.

When Schmidt approached the business office in August to see if there was money for a yearbook, the office said there was plenty of funding in the general Senate budget, which is where Schmidt drew the funds.

However, according to a Student Senate Executive Board member, Senate was not made aware that funds were being taken from the budget for the yearbook. The board member noticed money missing from the budget weeks later, and was informed by the business office that the money was being used for yearbook.

Because of the funding taken for yearbook, said the board member, there is significantly less money available for capital improvements.

“We are double-spending our money right now,” said the board member.

Schmidt said she did approach Senate first about reinstating the yearbook, and got a positive response.

“I never directly said that funds would be coming from Senate, but I assumed they knew,” said Schmidt, who is in her first year at SMU.

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