SA to start loan program for student organizations

Campus organizations looking to bolster their fundraising can soon borrow up to $500 from the Student Association to get off the ground.

Applications for the microloan program, which the SA Senate unanimously approved last week, will go online later this month – part of the finance committee’s effort to better divvy up its limited budget.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Daniel Egel-Weiss, CCAS-U, said having cash to spend on fundraisers can help groups hold bigger events and pull in more money.

“There are certain organizations that just don’t have the money to put on the quality programming that they would want to put on,” Egel-Weiss said. “This would give them an outlet on their own initiative to get the money that they want.”

The loans must be paid back within seven days of the fundraiser – unlike cosponsorships, which are handed out like grants. Fundraisers will no longer qualify for the SA’s co-sponsorship program, which is typically reserved for events put on by multiple organizations.

If an organization does not repay, the money could be deducted from its allocations the following year. Requests for funding will require 21 days notice.

Egel-Weiss said the most important part about the program is that it “allows us to give the same opportunities that we would have given to student organizations otherwise, but now the Student Association and the students of GW get their money back.”

The Philosophy Club, the Buff and Blue Bakers and the Quidditch Team have all expressed interest in using the loan system, Egel-Weiss said.

The Finance Committee also held an informational fundraising session for groups Thursday, pushing organizations to launch their ideas on fundraising sites like Crowdvance and Org Funder.

Crowdvance, which formed at GW after placing third in last year’s GW Business Plan Competition, helped GW’s field hockey team raise $1,000 last fall. Nine organizations, including GW Face AIDS and the GW Secular Society, have also raised money through the student-founded site Org Funder, finance committee chair Alex Mizenko said.

The program is the latest in a string of changes to the SA finance process this year. SA executives Ashwin Narla and Abby Bergren formed an oversight group to review allocations and recommend reforms, after the SA found an extra $86,000 in rollover funds. Just a month earlier, the senators successfully campaigned for a student fee hike that will double the SA’s budget over a decade.

Any student organization that does not complete the SA’s mid-year review form, showing what they have spent, will see up to 40 percent of their budget reclaimed. Last year, the mid-year review reclaimed about $10,000, which Mizenko expects to remain consistent this year.

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