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Student activity fee pays for senate t-shirts

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The Student Association Senate has a $1,500 budget to buy themselves t-shirts, but they haven’t allocated a penny for t-shirts to any student group this year.

In other words, the senators’ t-shirts are paid for by the student activity fee, but student groups must raise their own money to buy t-shirts for their members.

For the last few years, SA has only given out clothing to organizations if it can be returned, explained Mitchell Rybak, chairman of the Board of Finance.

This means that SA will allocate money for apparel like uniforms, but not organization t-shirts that might have members’ names on them.

Last Tuesday, senators indicated their t-shirt sizes on a sheet passed around during the organization’s weekly meeting.

Senate Chair Jarrett Altilio said that since senators have now filled out their t-shirt sizes, he expects to place the order this week.

In terms of the money allocated for senators’ t-shirts, Altilio acknowledged, “It does sound like quite a lot.”

Altilio mentioned that the t-shirts serve as a reward to senators for serving a year in SA.

“That’s not to say that groups don’t deserve the same thing,” Altilio added. “It’s just, I think that stems from the fact that we don’t have enough money in our external budget to be giving to fund all that groups want to do anyway.”

Keiry Ayala, a freshman and secretary of Albany Outreach for Animals, indicated that the club’s t-shirts cost $15.

Referring to the cost of their t-shirts, Nicholas Abbott, in charge of community service for the same club, said, “It’s a lot.”

But he forked out money for a shirt because he said, “I want to feel part of the club and having a t-shirt makes me feel connected to it.”

Student groups often raise their own money through fundraising or requiring members to pay dues.

Money for an organization’s t-shirts comes from their income—the account in their budget funded by dues and fundraising, not money allocated by SA.

Precizun Step Team requires all members to pay dues. Treasurer Chinira Lovick said that the group hasn’t had a problem with this in the past, but that members do not get a t-shirt until they pay dues.

Since the team also travels and requires costumes, they are able to get some apparel through SA appropriations.

Lovick said, “I feel like as long as you’re using the money for your organization, they shouldn’t have to police you.”

In terms of considering whether to allocate money to groups for t-shirts, Altilio said, “If it’s something groups are interested in at large, I think that’s maybe a debate we should have during the budget season.”

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Elise Coombs, a Syracuse native, is the editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press. She is the co-Vice President of the UAlbany Mock Trial team, a member of Presidential Honors Society, and a peer mentor for the pre-law section of Writing and Critical Inquiry. After her time at UAlbany, she plans to go to law school and become a First Amendment lawyer.

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