The Student Association will claw back unused student organization funds earlier than usual this year to allocate more money to other student groups throughout the semester.
Starting next month, SA senators will identify student organizations with excess funds, reclaim the money and transfer it to the SA’s co-sponsorship fund, said Sen. George Glass, U-at-Large and finance committee chair. Glass said the process, which typically occurs over the summer, will be moved up to the start of the semester so the SA can provide more supplemental funding to a greater number of student organizations during the spring.
“We’re literally just doing what would happen in June four months earlier so that we can actually give more to the students throughout the year,” he said.
The SA’s finance committee will identify the groups from which it will reclaim funds at two six-hour-long meetings over the first two days in February, according to a finance committee schedule obtained by The Hatchet. The SA will notify organizations about the reclamations Feb. 3 and offer student organization leaders an opportunity to submit an appeal to keep the unspent money, the schedule states.
The full finance committee will deliberate over appeals and vote the week of Feb. 10 to create a final list of organizations with excess funds to be reclaimed, according to the schedule. Senators will submit the final report to the Center for Student Engagement, which will begin transferring the money to the co-sponsorship fund shortly afterward, according to the SA’s schedule.
Glass said a “recurring issue” for the SA is how to treat unspent funds allocated to student organizations, because money unused by one group can be reallocated to another asking for more funding through the reclamation process.
Matthew Ludovico, the SA’s vice president for financial affairs and last year’s finance committee chair, said the SA struggled to reclaim excess funding from student organizations last year because the University switched from OrgSync to online student engagement management system Engage last calendar year, a “hard transition” for the process.
“We were already going to be transitioning into this Engage system in comparison to what we had, OrgSync, before, so we were in this weird limbo phase,” Ludovico said. “So there wasn’t really an opportunity for us to go ahead and do those reclamations.”
Ludovico said that when he was the finance committee chair, the committee tended to budget more money to organizations with events in the fall and less funding to organizations with events in the spring. Under the changes to the reclamation timeline, student organizations holding events in the spring can request money from a larger SA co-sponsorship fund that will contain reclaimed funding.
“In the fall, because especially if it’s an event that happens in August or September, that’s right when you get back from the break, and we need to make sure that our student orgs are able to put on their events,” Ludovico said. “So we put more funding in, in that aspect.”
Josh Singh, the president of the GW South Asian Society, said his organization still has money left over to spend this spring. He said he is hoping to use it all because the unspent money cannot be rolled over to the fall.
“We have a lot of stuff we allocated that money for, and our goal is to use up all of it,” Singh said.
He added that the student organization often does not have enough money to cover costs associated with its dance competitions, adding that his organization often depends on the SA’s co-sponsorship fund to ensure enough funding to last the duration of the school year.
“We find ourselves low or looking for more money from the SA because we are under-allocated in certain ways, especially those dance competitions,” Singh said. “They’re staples that have been happening for over almost close to two decades for both of them, so it requires a lot of manpower, a lot of energy, time, but especially money.”