In another funding change, SA to give out more money to student groups

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Elise Apelian

Sen. Ryan Counihan, left, leads the Student Association Finance Committee, which has allocated funding for newly formed groups this semester.

More than a dozen new campus groups requested funding money from the Student Association this fall, forcing the group to change its allocations process for the third time in three years.

The SA Finance Committee previously planned to only give out funds in the spring, but student leaders said they decided to bring back fall allocations to give GW’s 35 new groups a chance for funding.

About half of those groups were awarded funds, with an average allocation of $300, SA Finance Chair Ryan Counihan said. The SA gave out a total of $5,883 to the new groups – a sliver of its about $1 million annual budget.

“It only made sense to hold an allocations process and give them some funding,” Counihan said. “If a smaller number of organizations registered, it wouldn’t have made sense to run a whole process like this. But, there was a need there.”

Last year, the CSE only allowed newly registered groups to seek funding in the spring. But to accommodate new groups that form in the fall, Counihan said the SA would likely amend its bylaws to again hold allocations in the beginning of the year.

CSE director Tim Miller said he supported the SA’s decision to add another round of allocations.

“We believe every registered organization deserves access to the funds they contribute to in the student fee and we are glad that the SA is finding a way to ensure that new organizations can get necessary funding in order to be successful,” Miller said in an email.

The finance committee, the SA’s most powerful arm, has scrambled to find funding for the rising number of groups at GW in recent years. The group has taken a more active role overseeing groups’ budgets – requiring student groups to break down their budgets by each cost and holding workshops to teach groups to improve their fundraising.

The SA has also continued to shift the timing of its allocations process.

Last year, the finance committee held allocations in the spring so that groups could plan programming for the summer and Welcome Week. In previous years, the SA gave out the majority of its budget in the fall and reserved about 15 percent to give out in the spring.

The committee’s funding decisions are based on factors like the number of years that group has been on campus, the impact of that group’s programming and other available sources of money, and also must be approved by the full senate.

Groups can appeal their funding levels until Friday, and the finalized allocations bill will hit the Senate floor Monday.

GW Animals Advocates, which registered this fall, received $150 out of the $5,000 that president Marissa Price requested to host animal rescue events. Price said she plans to appeal the allocation because it’s “frustrating” to not receive the money you need.

“It is a little insulting. I understand that this is a new organization and you haven’t proven yourself yet,” she said. “But, as a new organization, you need start up money for recruitment opportunities to draw people in.”

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