In order to continue their volunteer programs for the rest of the semester, the Volunteer Bureau requested supplemental funding at the Student Association Senate meeting Sunday night.
The SA Senate unanimously approved the request for $2,040. The request already had been approved 6-0 with two abstentions at the SA Finance meeting Thursday night.
Sherri Strohecker, director for the Volunteer Bureau, said the extra funds will pay for a bus service to transport volunteers to three organizations, including Valleyview, St. Charles and Nachusa. The number of student volunteers has increased, and the bureau no longer is able to take vans to the organizations, she said.
Valleyview and St. Charles are correctional homes and Nachusa is a home for the emotionally disturbed, she said. At the correctional homes, volunteers tutor the children in basic mathematics and the alphabet, but at Nachusa the volunteers play games or watch television with the children, Strohecker said. “Between 25 and 30 volunteers attend each home, and there never has been a problem filling the limit,” she said.
The bureau requires $690 for six trips at $115 per trip to Valleyview, $140 at $80 per visit to St. Charles and $870 at $145 per visit to Nachusa.
Strohecker said there is only enough money for trips during the next six weeks, and without the extra funding the bureau would have to stop their progams then.
Volunteers from the bureau visit eight organizations, but only three of them are not accessible by the Huskie Bus Line and require other means of transportation, Strohecker said.
“Children at the correctional home are from broken homes and have had a bad life. Some do not receive visitors, even though they have been there for two or three years,” she said. “They depend solely on NIU volunteers.”
“The volunteer bureau has been in existence for 14 years and has been going to Valleyview for about 12 to 13 years,” Strohecker said. “It is a very valuable program.”
If the bureau did not receive the extra funding, “it would take a lot away from the organization (bureau), and it would hurt the three organizations,” she said.
In other matters, a motion to cancel payment of $750 for use of microphones at SA Senate meetings failed. Recently, the SA Senate approved a budget request to pay for the use, set-up and maintenance of eight microphones. In the past, the Holmes Student Center did not charge for these services.
SA President Jim Fischer said the SA should not be charged for the services because the money comes out of student activity fees. Also, the maintenance man already receives a salary from the university, and the SA should not pay someone twice, he said.
Sen. Julie Stege agreed the SA should not pay for the microphone services twice. Senate Speaker Karen Seymour said the senators must be sure to support the motion, and not just make a statement.
SA Treasurer Lisa Schlepp said she does not know how to stop payment on bills that already have been paid. Another alternative would be not to pay the bills next year, she said.