Student Government tables $80,000 funding request, seeking additional student input

Alex Connor

Student Government tabled an $80,000 funding request during its meeting Wednesday, citing lack of student input on the manner as a major concern.

The funding request was from the Student Carillonneur Leadership Council — a student organization formed last spring that has been coordinating and fundraising the construction of a 1:5 scale replica of the Campanile.

The senate debated the funding request for more than an hour with questions ranging from the prestige the carillon would bring to the university to logistics, such as how long the scale replica would last.

Casey Cunningham represented the Student Carillonneur Leadership Council as president, where he provided input on the possible benefits of the carillon and its roots within the university community.

“The model will act as extension of the Campanile on campus,” Cunningham said. “We’re using this to promote Iowa State and everything we stand for here at Iowa State.”

The idea for the replica of the Campanile, which would also serve as a functioning 27-bell carillon, originated from Iowa State’s professional carillonneur Tin-Shi Tam a few years ago.

This then fell into the student’s hands where different classes have provided input on the construction, design and feasibility of the carillon.

The intent, Cunningham said, is to use at events across the university such as sporting events, and outside the university at possible alumni meet-ups, among other things.

“When you see this traveling down the road, you will see it and think Iowa State University,” Cunningham said. “This model is built by university students to resemble everything university students are learning here.”

The Student Carillonneur Leadership Council has fundraised $140,000 so far. The $80,000 from Student Government would help complete the project, Cunningham said.

The $80,000 would have been pulled from the Special Projects Account which currently has about $450,000. The last tangible item to be funded by Student Government from this account was two years ago in which the senate allocated $144,000 for recyclable trash cans on campus.

Several senators were in immediate support of the Campanile. Sen. Sam Rankin, who co-sponsored the legislation, felt that the carillon would help raise the prestige of the university.

“Not only is this a neat project, it is something that alumni would really like to see,” Rankin said. “I think this $80,000 is an investment in Iowa State.”

Others, like Sen. Chelsea Eret, were more concerned about the impact this may have on the actual Campanile.

“Do you worry that by replicating it and having a second version, you take away its special purpose?” Eret said. “If it travels around it kind of becomes a commodity… do you worry about cheapening our actual Campanile?”

Cunningham said that it is not a replacement of the Campanile but is rather an extension of it.

“We’re not depleting the idea of the Campanile at Iowa State,” he said. “We’re simply taking it to other people.

Clerk Jacob Zirkelbach was strongly against Student Government funding the carillon, arguing that there were larger issues the senate should be considering.

“I found out today there is $300 million of deferred maintenance on campus,” Zirkelbach said. “We have one [a Campanile]. We’re already good.”

Zirkelbach encouraged the Student Carillonneur Leadership Council to “raise money yourself and don’t take it out of the pockets of students who are already struggling.”

During the debate, Sens. Jonathan Kirner and Kathryn Nielsen proposed amendments — one being to transfer the money from the Excellence Fund compared to the Special Projects Account and the other being to only fund $9,500 of the carillon.

Both amendments failed.

Other arguments raised were the funding sources the student organization utilized, one being, why can’t they pull more money from outside donors?

“We cannot approach donors,” Cunningham said. “We have only been able to contact people that we know. We have exhausted all of our personal resources coming up with $140,000 — all but one, you guys.”

Ultimately, the senate tabled the legislation to gauge more student input on the matter.

Cunningham encouraged the senate that when approaching the funding request to come from an accurate viewpoint.

“I just request that when talking to students, accurate information is provided,” he said. “We have a website, please use the website… If accurate information is presented to students and the meaning behind it, I would love it.”

Additionally, the senate unanimously funded the Black Students Alliance Sunday dinners for $2,100 and ISU Table Tennis to attend a tournament for $212.