The Elon University Student Government Association will introduce a streamlined system for allocating funds to student organizations when budget hearings begin next semester.
To make the process more efficient, organizations and clubs have been clustered together with other similar groups. Instead of submitting a budget proposal to the SGA Finance Committee as they’ve done in the past, each organization leader will propose a budget to a cluster representative, who has been nominated and elected by cluster members. The cluster representative also serves as a senator on the SGA Organization Council.
After outlining a budget for each group, the cluster representative will discuss the proposal with the rest of the Organization Council. During this meeting, the proposal will be prepared for a hearing with the Finance Committee, where individual organization leaders as well as cluster representatives will come together.
The Finance Committee must approve the budget in the budget hearing before SGA can vote on it. When the time comes for SGA to vote on the budgets, they will vote on them cluster by cluster, as opposed to club by club as they did previously.
Junior Avery Steadman, executive treasurer of SGA and co-chair of the Finance Committee, said adding the cluster representative position will help organizations get the resources they need.
“There are some things that SGA won’t fund,” Steadman said. “Instead of every time they come into the budget hearings, showing us something we can’t fund, the cluster representative will say ahead of time ‘You can fund this and this, but not this,’ so we don’t have to do that during the actual budget hearings.”
In the past, she said, educating organization leaders about what SGA can and can’t fund has been a waste of time for both SGA and organization leaders. This year, when 80 budgets cross the desks of Finance Committee members, those factors should have already been considered.
Money SGA allocates for clubs and organizations on campus is paid for through the student activities fee, a $247 component of each student’s tuition. Campus
recreation receives about half of that fee, and the rest, $654,288 for 2014-2015, goes to SGA.
Around $582,093 will comprise the budgets of organizations in 2015. The remainder is reserved for special allocations throughout the year.
“The idea is to get organizations the money they deserve and show them how to spend it the right way,” Steadman said. “What will happen a lot is organizations will have no clue what to ask for. Rather than bring in impossible budgets, the cluster representative will help them get it down to something we can pass.”
Adam Knaszak, the Organization Council Liaison, said senators will learn the new system during the SGA retreat in September. But, he said, the overall budget process should proceed much more smoothly than in the past.
“I think it’s going to be effective because the budget meetings will be quicker and more efficient,” Knaszak said. “Just because of restrictions and rules, the Finance Committee wasn’t able to allocate the money organizations needed. We’re hoping this will dissolve those problems so organizations can get the money they need and deserve.”