For the second year in a row, the Student Association allocated a record amount for the operating costs of the nearly 300 student organizations at the University, unanimously passing the $502,000 initial allocation bill at the SA Senate meeting Tuesday night.
The allocation amount represents a $120,000 increase from last year’s initial allocations pool, and is $200,000 more than the SA’s entire yearly budget a mere three years ago. Thanks to a student fee increase passed in 2008, the SA has had an increasingly large budget to give out for student programming.
Only one of the 270 student organizations that received money from the bill appealed their allocation amount at Tuesday night’s meeting, far less than years past, a statistic that one member of the SA Senate attributes to the SA’s increased budget and fair allocations process.
“We organized the bill in a fair fashion and I really think the Senate and organizations recognized this,” said SA Sen. Chris Clark, U-At large and chair of the SA Finance Committee.
After spending nearly 80 hours looking over budgets and hearing appeals, Clark said he was happy with how respectful the Senate was when voting on the bill.
SA Sen. Tom Fogarty, SMHS-G, said the unanimous support for the bill was a testament to Clark and the finance committee’s hard work on the bill.
“Clark brought a lot to the table and really fought for what was fair,” Fogarty said. “Tonight was a victory for student organizations.”
Sam Free, a representative from the Racially and Ethnically Mixed Student Association, was the only person to appeal for a larger allocation amount at the meeting. REMIX asked for $1500, but was given only $550 for this year, a $50 increase from last year.
SA Sen. Travis Holler, ESIA-U and vice chair of the finance committee, said the $550 was enough for basic office supplies, which is what the initial allocation is meant to go toward, adding that the SA is more than happy to help REMIX with co-sponsorships throughout the year. REMIX was denied its appeal request.
Clark said the finance committee – which votes on each requested co-sponsorship request – will work diligently and quickly this year in order to ensure that student organizations will get the funding they need.
“We have officers this year that will be on top of their things and are going to do their job in a timely, efficient manner,” Clark said, explaining that the co-sponsorship process will run more smoothly this year. “We will not have problems with it this year.”
During the meeting, Holler announced that the SA has $930,457 to allocate to student organizations this year, not the estimated $1.2 million announced in September. Though the amount is less than the SA originally thought, it is still the most in the organization’s history.
“The numbers given to us by the Student Activities Center had not been checked up by the budget office and the former vice president of the SA,” Holler said. “No one went about the right way in checking it out.”