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SGA approves budget with cut from administration, passes new bill to set guidelines

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Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by Paige Stewart

 

The Student Government Association proposed several changes to the budget request process for clubs yesterday afternoon.

At the top of the agenda for the meeting was discussion and voting on the budget requests filed by College clubs for the 2017-2018 school year. Each club that applied for funding was granted less money than it had requested.

SGA President Leah Weinstein explained to the Senate that the cuts were made at the request of Joe Boucher, Director of Student Activities, and Greg Hanlon, Assistant Director of Student Activities.

Weinstein and SGA Treasurer Yipeng (Shaw) Wang worked in collaboration to determine the amount of money that each club would receive. Then they cut either 11% or 12% from this figure to determine the final sums that would be allotted for the upcoming year.

Wang proceeded to explain the two primary reasons for the budget cuts. The first stems from the fact that 60% of clubs only spend half of their allotment by the end of the academic year. Once money is designated to a club, it cannot be used for another cause, even if the club does not spend it. This leaves no room for special event funding requests. SGA leadership and the Student Activities Directors hope that the budget cuts will increase flexibility for such events and ensure that all sums clubs request are actually spent.

The second reason for the budget cut decision involved establishing a reserve fund for new clubs. When the entire budget was already pledged to existing clubs, no money remained for newly approved ones. All of the revised budget requests were discussed and approved by the Senate.

Senators Benjamin Cowgill and Benjamin Vester proceeded to introduce a bill intended to solidify the budget approval process for future SGA councils. The clauses in this bill encourage discussion about student participation in the budget request process, installing standard deliberation procedures among Senators, and changing the funding structure from an operating budget to a set of categorical grants.

“It’s important to have a set of guidelines we can point to so we can say, ‘This is why you weren’t approved,’” says Vester.

Vester adds that he hopes the bill will encourage clubs to spend all of the money they were given. Cowgill and Vester plan for the bill to go into effect when the new SGA begins session in January 2018.

After questions were taken, the bill was ratified.