A proposed Student Government bill would make it easier for clubs to obtain money to travel and host events, said Sen. William Nicks, the bill’s sponsor.
Clubs were allocated about $33,000 for the year. As of February, about $10,000 had been spent, according to SG Chief Financial Officer Alex Moser.
Nicks said the current club funding process is inefficient and time consuming, and leads to unspent money that doesn’t come back to the clubs at the end of the year.
The current club funding process has been in effect for about a year and a half, since SG’s statutes were revised a few years ago. The changes proposed by the bill would make the funding process similar to what it was before the revision. The bill calls for amendments to Title 8, the part of SG’s statutes that outline the club budget process.
Currently, the Senate decides in the spring on a total amount to be set aside for club budgets for the following year. Clubs then submit a budget request at the beginning of the year. The Senate allocates certain amounts of money to each club, and then that money is put aside exclusively for the club.
The bill will eliminate the yearly budget process for individual clubs, replacing it with a grant funding process. The Senate will still allocate a larger amount to set aside for clubs, but they will submit grant requests throughout to a new club funding review board for each separate event, project or trip they want to hold.
The board will review the request, and will be able to approve requests under $300. The Senate will vote on any requests over $300.
The bill would also change the deadlines for signature event grant requests, which were August for fall events and October for spring events. The new deadline would be about three weeks before the event.
“That way, we have enough time to actually process the requests,” Nicks said, “but we are not cut off in such a manner that we are limiting [the clubs] to actually do these things, and saying, ‘well, you didn’t do it by the deadline’.”
Currently, if a club doesn’t spend all the money it has been allocated, the money gets swept into a reserve account at the end of the year—a university account that SG does not have access to.
Each year, SG gets access to about $100,000 of that money through a capital account. This money is meant to fund larger campus projects. The campus garden was funded through this account, and partial funding for the digital video display wall, or “wow wall,” for the Multi-Purpose Student Center will also come form the capital account.
SG Chief Financial Officer Alex Moser said he does not know how much money is in the reserve account, and that Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan gives SG its access to the capital account each year.
Nicks said the changes would also free up time for the appropriations committee to do a better job of making sure the financial aspects of SG are handled properly, and to work on larger capital projects. The committee currently sees all requests for club funding, which takes up the bulk of its time, Nicks said. The club funding review board would take over this function.
Discussing the bill was removed from the March 21 SG Senate meeting to give the committees another chance to tweak the bill. It will be brought before the group again on the March 28 Senate meeting.