In addition to partially lifting the moratorium on new student groups, the Student Activities Council announced a new chair on Oct. 30.
The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with College junior Renata O'Donnell , who will lead SAC until next October, to discuss her plans for the upcoming year.
Daily Pennsylvanian: Why should students care about SAC?
Renata O'Donnell: SAC is funding 150 student groups. Thousands of experiences on this campus are provided by SAC and we are making huge decisions about how money is spent here. We all love the different groups we represent on SAC executive board and that’s why we can do our job effectively because we know student groups are an integral part of the Penn experience.
DP: The moratorium was recently partially lifted. What is the process for the recognition of new groups?
RO: They have to fill out an application … Then, tell us your mission and your mission has to be different than other groups on campus. Then you list your budget, expenses you have already had, how long you have been in existence for.
We are only meeting with new groups from now until the December GBM and we will recognize those groups at the December GBM. [SAC executive board] will make a recommendation to the body and the body will vote on recognizing those new groups. But after December, the process of recognizing new groups won’t begin again until this time next year. It’s really important that if groups want to apply for recognition, they do so now.
DP: What legacy would you like to leave after your term as SAC chair?
RO: I think [previous SAC chairs] have done an amazing job. What I hope to leave behind is a sense that SAC is a transparent entity that is working towards helping student groups.
Every person on SAC exec genuinely cares about student groups and the fact that sometimes we can’t fund everything is sometimes misconstrued for us not wanting to fund something. We wish we could fund everything but need to make sure everyone is fairly funded, so everyone gets the most they possibly can.
DP: How do you plan to lead and communicate with such a large general body?
RO: We need to communicate to [treasurers] how to access funding, so they can best serve their student group as a liaison.
Treasurers will take these Canvas [training] modules at home and take five minute assessments at the end, just to make sure they know the basics, like how to access funding through Office of Student Affairs, how to access contingency funding, what contingency funding is. Some treasurers don’t know these basics and that’s not on them, that’s on us. A major point this year is having SAC exec liaisons be an integral part of student groups.
Not a lot of time is spent face to face with groups and that’s really the only way to communicate effectively.
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