Student Association to allocate nearly $500,000

The Student Association Senate is expected to disburse nearly $500,000 to fund the operating costs of about 270 student organizations this week, the highest initial allocation amount in the organization’s history.

Sen. Chris Clark, U-At large, chair of the SA Finance Committee, said the SA has yet to determine the exact amount that will be in the allocations bill as the SA is still waiting on graduate student fees to process. But Clark said he expects the SA will allocate about $200,000 to graduate groups, which will be added to the $285,480 expected to be doled out to undergraduate student groups.

The increased allocation amount – up from $380,000 in 2009 – stems from the SA having more than $1 million dollars to dole out this year, also the largest amount in the organization’s history.

The remaining $600,000 not allocated Tuesday night will likely go toward co-sponsoring events with student organizations, Clark said.

Sen. Travis Holler, ESIA-U, finance committee vice chair, said organizations that managed their money well last year will see an increase in their initial allocations Tuesday. Every organization that requested money received at least $200, unless it asked for less, Clark added.

The largest initial allocation amounts are slated to go to the Panhellenic Association, the College Republicans, the College Democrats and the International Affairs Society. The amounts, however, will not be final until the SA Senate votes on the bill Tuesday night.

The CDs and CRs are set to receive $15,000 each, an increase from the $10,500 both groups were allocated last year; the IAS is set to receive $10,000, up $5000 from last year; and the Panhellenic Association will likely receive $30,000, the same amount it received last year.

“[IAS] proved to the finance committee and the SA that they can put on successful Model UN conferences and speakers that are open to the entire campus,” Holler said of the society’s allocation increase. “They were rewarded based on their great programming.”

Knowing that an increased allocation pool was available, Clark said student organizations requested more than $700,000, forcing the body to trim some of the requested budgets.

“Orgs tried to request over $700,000 [total], but we were able to weed out a lot of these heavily inflated budgets,” Clark said. “We cut about $200,000 from these budgets.”

Clark said the CRs originally requested $55,000 and the CDs requested $25,000.

Organizations that submitted responsible budgets received their full request, he said.

In going through organizations’ budgets, Clark said he strived to be systematic and transparent.

“If an organization was very vague with their budget, we erred on the cautious side and were very critical,” Clark said. “If they are unhappy they can come back and appeal for more money with a detailed budget.”

Last week, 23 organizations appealed for more money, including the Senior Class Gift Committee, the Engineers’ Committee and WRGW, which was one of four organizations that directly appealed to the full senate at the allocations meeting last year.

Additionally, every year the finance committee holds a mid-year review of its allocations to examine how organizations have spent their money. This year a greater influence will be placed on that process, Holler said.

“The last thing we want to see is any wasting of the student fee money when it should be going to the programming for the students,” Holler said.

The GW Men’s Basketball Fan Club is the only organization to request money that didn’t receive any in the allocations bill. The finance committee said that its $150 budget lacked legitimacy, although the organization is welcome to appeal.

“Because there is so much money, we plan to make this year’s financial process more transparent and as responsible as possible,” Holler said. “We want to make sure the oversight is there so there are no issues.”

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