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Student Association’s Initiative Fund opens with $40,000

Illustrated by Ndidi Nwosu

By Renly Liu     9/13/22 11:21pm

This year, Rice Student Association’s initiative fund will have a budget of $40,000, a significant increase from the typical $20,000 budget of the past few years. SA Treasurer Solomon Ni said that the increase comes from unused blanket tax funds from the previous pandemic years. 

The initiative fund is a reserve of money to be distributed by the SA blanket tax committee to help fund club projects in service of the Rice community. Ni said that over the last two years, the pandemic significantly impacted the amount of money clubs were able to spend, resulting in this year’s increased budget. 

“This is one of the first years where we’re able to actually promote [the fund],” Ni said. I’m in a place of privilege to say that I get to administer the initiative fund this year, because I get to do a lot more than previous treasurers have.” 

One club participating in the greater fund increase is Rice MusicMDs, an outreach program of students volunteering their musical experience and holding performances for local health institutions. MusicMDs President Serena Kim said that the funding will hopefully allow for the expansion of the club. 

“We are applying for a keyboard or two, so [the volunteers] can transport that and play it at Ben Taub, and [to] provide snacks and drinks for our volunteers at Ben Taub,” Kim, a Brown College senior, said. “Also [we are] working with … three different hospices … as well as Texas Children’s and, with those, we would need help with transportation.”

The Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice is another club planning to apply for funding this year. Its Socials Committee Chair Maria Antonia Bustillo said that this year will mark the return of events that were unfeasible under previous pandemic restrictions, one of which is the Latin Pub Night. 

“Now that things are slowly picking up, HACER hopes to be able to plan [the Latin Pub Night] and use the Initiative Fund to help cover expenses and make the event larger and more accessible to more members of the Rice community,” Bustillo said. 

Ni said that with this year’s revival of student-accessible funding and the potential growth of the Blanket Tax Committee, he expects a lot more opportunities to be available to student organizations on campus. 

“I’m expecting that students are able to pursue what they want to do, and what they want to see on campus. The main thing about the initiative fund is that it’s like a good place to experiment with what you want to see,” Ni said.

In order to receive money through the initiative fund, student organizations must submit their applications by Friday, Sept. 16. 

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