Co-Sponsorship raises student group funds

SA looks at “anything that student groups want to pursue, whether it be a speaker, conference, et cetera,” he said.

Last year, $80,000 was allocated by the SA to co-sponsor events. This year, there was a 25 percent increase in the budget, making the new sum $100,000. That equals one quarter of the entire SA budget, some of which has already been put to use.

Moss said the purpose of the co-sponsorship program is for smaller groups that do not receive much money in their initial allocation.

A recent example of a co-sponsored event is a Liquid Arts event held Oct. 30. The organization received the standard $300 from the SA for a newly registered group. To hold the event, they needed $570. In order to gain necessary additional funds, Liquid Arts filled out the required online form and was awarded money for its show, Moss said.

“(The process is) relatively easy, but it is lengthy since we were an inexperienced organization,” said junior Shounuck Patel, co-president of Liquid Arts.

Many groups use co-sponsorship funds to offset the costs of events. The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, International Affairs Society and Mock Trial Club each recently received funding ranging from $2,100 to $6,600.

The FMLA received funding for a concert that took place Oct. 6, “Rock for Choice.” The groups received the full amount that they requested from the SA, $2,110.

“The only bad thing was that it took a really long time to get the money. For over a month, we made phone calls and sent e-mails and didn’t know until the Tuesday before the Saturday event if we were getting the money. It was frustrating,” said junior Kelly Danylyshyn-Adams, financial chair of the FMLA.

Moss said the delay was a result of a new SA getting organized.

“The FMLA’s request was early in the year, and the finance committee was still getting oriented with the co-sponsorship process,” he said.

The committee meets weekly to examine each request for co-sponsorship funds, and Moss said it is working to make a “paperless” request process.

Moss cited the finance committee’s attempt to replicate Cornell University’s paperless co-sponsoring program in which every form is online and the financial committee can discuss the requests through e-mail.

Problems in the past have included use of personal credit cards to charge events without having the appropriate funding in their accounts. Senior Daniel Loren, International Affairs Society chairman, recalled putting $4,500 on his credit card to pay for a floor of hotel rooms for a conference.

Loren said it was IAS’s fault for not giving the finance committee the necessary time to approve the funds, but he did not receive the reimbursement money until two months later. He acknowledged the problem was with GW’s Accounts Payable Office, not with the SA, but the interest grew on his credit card.

There have been isolated incidents of problems with the co-sponsorship program “but there have been no formal complaints,” Moss said.

“I go back and forth on (SA co-sponsorship),” said senior Melissa Tallman, financial chair for Mock Trial. “It’s a smart idea by the SA. Many organizations might inflate their budgets, so the SA is skeptical.”

Tallman added that it would be “nice to have all of the money up front so we would know how much fundraising to do, but it is good for the SA to know concrete plans for events.”

Even larger groups use co-sponsorship for programs such as the College Democrat’s upcoming Worldwide AIDS Day.

“Co-sponsorship is a great idea,” said junior Jess Duffy, vice president of the CDs. “Even if I made up the best budget in the world, I couldn’t plan everything that comes up throughout a year.”

Moss said his main concern is staying involved with the groups.

“We want them to come back and ask for us to co-sponsor their events. It is meant to help, not hinder,” Moss said. “That is why we don’t give them more money during their initial allowance.”

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