After student groups go days without money, GW restores petty cash fund

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Student groups were unable to get small sums of money, which is typically used for office supplies or food for events, from the Center from Student Engagement after the department's petty cash fund was depleted. CSE said the pool of money was replenished by Friday.

The Center for Student Engagement couldn’t give out small sums of money to student groups last week, after it took the University days to replenish an exhausted petty cash fund.

CSE Director Tim Miller said the cash levels were “depleted” for a short period of time last week, but that his office restored the funds by Friday. Student life officials said they made sure organizations still had access to money in the meantime through alternatives like GW-issued credit cards and reimbursements.

Miller declined to say how the fund ran out of cash, but said that the Division of Student Affairs would work with GW’s executive vice president and treasurer to “ensure this issue does not occur in the future.”

Student groups are allowed to take out as much as $150 in petty cash at one time, and that money is typically used to purchase food for events or pay for office supplies. Student Association Senate Finance Chair Ben Pryde said at certain times of the year, “there’s a big rush for petty cash,” but that he did not know for certain what had happened to the funds.

“If petty cash is not available, they can go to CVS and just be reimbursed,” he said. “Just because petty cash is out doesn’t mean they can’t get the money out.”

Anne Graham, a CSE program coordinator, told student organizations about the shortage last Monday, according to an email obtained by The Hatchet. She suggested that student groups contact their advisers or the center’s financial team to find alternative forms of payment.

“Until further notice, the Center for Student Engagement is out of petty cash for use by student organizations. We are working with departments across the University to resolve this as soon as possible and will let you know when our supply of petty cash is restored,” the email read.

Graham sent another email Wednesday saying the fund was still empty, and CSE would not be able to approve any requests.

CSE was in “constant communication” with student leaders to find money for groups, SA President Nick Gumas said.

“While I am sure some student organizations will be inconvenienced by this temporary outage, I am sure they also appreciate what the CSE is doing to mitigate the problem,” he said.

Clara Mora, the president of the GW Shakespeare Company, said her group had “major problems” because the group’s production of “The Tempest” opened Thursday.

“We had a production this weekend and had to pull out of our own cash to pay for things, which was further aggravated by SA incompetency,” she said.

The group’s publicity director, Madeline O’Brien, said her assistant had to spend $100 of her own money to pay to print the show’s programs after the SA’s printer broke. The group is now applying for reimbursement.

“We’re a student theater organization. We can’t go on without posters and programs and scripts,” O’Brien said.

Allison Kowalski and Robin Eberhardt contributed reporting.

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