New ASUCD committee to reinstate distribution of scholarships

On April 21, the ASUCD Senate passed a new bill to establish the ASUCD Scholarship Committee that will distribute $7,000 to $9,000 in scholarship awards annually.

On April 21, the ASUCD Senate passed a new bill to establish the ASUCD Scholarship Committee that will distribute $7,000 to $9,000 in scholarship awards annually.

Authored by ASUCD Vice President Bree Rombi, Senate Bill 63 outlines the responsibilities and structure of the committee and the criteria it will use to select the recipients.

The scholarship money will originate from the ASUCD Awards Endowment Fund, which has not been used since 2008, Rombi said.

“It was a big surprise to me that this was something left in the past,” she said. “It’s a really great opportunity for us to give money to students that are making a big difference on campus, so I wanted to make that change and reinstitute it back to campus.”

Rombi said that the committee will first meet in Fall 2011 and will use a holistic approach to evaluating the students. Its members will include the ASUCD business manager, vice president, controller, two senators, the Academic Affairs Commission chair and one other commission chairperson.

The bill states that the committee will be considering high achievement in academics, exceptional leadership, participation in the community, care for the environment, service to the university, financial need, athletic achievement, work experience, extracurricular activities, first-generation college attendance and endurance in personal hardship.

The number of awards distributed and the amount given to each student is left to the committee’s discretion, according to the bill.

The ASUCD Awards Endowment Fund was established in 1999 for the purpose of awarding students with scholarships. However, no money has been awarded since 2008, which Rombi believes is due to the vagueness of the previous bylaws.

“The turnover within ASUCD is really difficult sometimes,” Rombi said. “If it’s just something that you’re supposed to do but it’s not really written anywhere it can be forgotten about really easily. And I think no one said anything when the years went by and it just fell to the dark.”

The endowment has no exact interest rate, as it depends on the UC Board of Regents’ investment pool, said Mark Champagne, ASUCD business manager, in an e-mail interview. He noted that over $17,000 has accumulated in the fund within the last two years.

Rombi said the money in the fund is regenerated by taking 10 percent of the interest and placing it back into the fund. Also, 10 percent of any surplus money will be put into the fund, said Andre Lee, ASUCD senator and co-author of the bill.

Currently, $179,000 resides in the endowment fund, Rombi said. However, $25,000 of that money must be put into The Mark and Linda Champagne ASUCD Customer Service/Exceptional Hourly Employee Award, Lee said. Champagne donated $25,000 in scholarship money under the condition that the amount would be matched by ASUCD.

Lee noted that traditionally the vice president has distributed the awards, but that is not governed by the bylaws. The two previous vice presidents did not distribute scholarships, he said.

“We hope this is something [that allows us to] give out money every year, and that we can do it responsibly and transparently,” Lee said. “We can benefit the students that way and we won’t have problems in the future in which one person didn’t do anything, so that thousands of dollars didn’t get put out.”

MARTHA GEORGIS can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.