Updated at 11:12 p.m.
SGA is proposing reforms to its allocation budget model for next year after concluding that the previous model was not sustainable. A proposal for the original model to be replaced asks club members to make individual proposals throughout the year to SGA online through Phoenix Connect for each expense.
The fixed budget that clubs currently receive through SGA would be eliminated through the new legislation if it passes at the business meeting on Dec 6.
If passed, the new model will not take effect until June, but SGA Executive Secretary Max Pivonka said, “Because it’s a transition year, we would work to accommodate if an org has something summer, August, early September that needed to be presented.”
SGA’s new model was detailed in documents given to Elon News Network after it was discussed by the executive board in a closed session on Dec. 4.
In the new model, clubs would be able to request an upfront fund based on their membership size. Larger organizations can request up to $400, and smaller organizations will be eligible for $100.
The proposed legislation does provide an option for an override of the model and recognizes the need to exempt some organizations.
SGA notes in the new legislation that organizations who “plan numerous events on a large scale” may not be able to operate under this new model. Instead, the Finance Board is asking to offer a fixed budget for organizations that meet its criteria.
Organizations that can apply to receive a fixed budget:
- Provide services to the entire student body
- Have services available through the academic year
- Does not function on an “event-by-event” basis
- Have not abused their budget in the past
- Have not been sanctioned or on probation in the past year
- Have a paid, full-time faculty advisor
Funding from SGA comes from 51 percent of the $272 yearly student activity fee, which the new legislation calls “SAF.” Pivonka said he wants these funds to go into activities that benefit the student body.
Under the proposed legislation, organizations will have the opportunity to make event requests for up to $5,000 to the Finance Board. SGA will require these events to be promoted on Phoenix Connect and include “supported by SAF.”
Organizations are also given the opportunity to request funding for equipment. Any equipment purchased with funds from the Finance Board SGA encourages to have the sticker “Supported by the SAF.”
Retreats and conferences would also need to be pre-approved by the Finance Board in the new model. SGA is open to providing $250 for airfare and $.10 per mile reimbursed on gas.
The Finance Board would only approve reimbursements for off-campus meals if notes from the meeting are submitted. This was one issue Pivonka said he saw in the previous years. He said if students saw that their SAF was going to lunches, they “wouldn’t be happy.”
In the new legislation, the Finance Board opens itself to an appeals process through the proposed Appeals Board, which would be appointed by SGA.
Its funding vision, outlined in new legislation, is “to allocate SAF in a way that maximizes the benefit for all undergraduate students who pay the annual fee.”
SGA will keep its Fun Fund and Student Loan Program through its proposed legislation.
The legislation will be sent out to club leaders at 11 p.m. on Dec. 4. SGA's proposed budget model will be voted on by senators in Moseley 215 on Thursday, Dec. 6, where the public is invited to join.
Updated at 6:10 p.m.
After assessment, executive treasurer of SGA Max Pivonka said the organization found problems with balance in the old system.
The previous budget model asks for club leaders to attend budget hearings every year, where each club asks SGA for a fixed budget. This model has been in place since 1999, according to Pivonka. If an organization misses its budget hearing, it risks not receiving the proper funding.
Also, if an organization does not use its entire budget, the budget could shrink for the next year. Pivonka said he saw organizations toward the end of the budget year spending its excess funds foolishly, not on student life, in order to maintain the same budget for the next year.
Pivonka said that there was a precedent for older organizations on campus to receive more funding even if it had low student participation or activity. SGA argues it isn’t fair for students to pay a fee to fund organizations based on seniority.
“One of the main things that we think is important that what you are putting into these student activity fees could improve your college experience,” Pivonka said.
In the new model, student organizations could apply for up to $300. Then, clubs would make individual funding requests which would be reviewed on a “case-by-case basis,” according to Pivonka.
At a Town Hall Meeting on Nov. 29, Pivonka proposed for the Finance Board to review clubs' funding requests on a weekly basis. The Finance Board would act independent of SGA, reviewing SGA’s requests for funding.
With the new proposed system, SGA is allowing for Fraternity and Sorority Life to access its funds for events that are open to the student body. It also allows for smaller, newer organizations to receive more funding than before.
Not all clubs feel as if they will benefit from this new model. Bryanna Chazotte, director of Safe Rides, said that the fixed budget — the original budget model — was the primary way her organization ran.
“A lot of our charges, a lot of our expenses are usually unexpected and are usually great in value,” Chazotte said. “So when I have a flat tire or when I have a vehicle’s battery die or when an entire vehicle needs work on its engine, those are all costs that I can’t predict, and, they're often in excess of $300.”
Katie Mars, executive director of Elon Volunteers, an organization with hundreds of members and several co-leaders, also feels as if her organization can't function well with the fixed cost of $300 and ahead-of-time requests for funding.
“My only concerns are for some larger organizations with larger costs that are not as predictable each year,” Mars said. She said since her organization has many little financial requests that come in the day of, she is afraid Elon Volunteers won't be properly funded.
The student body can expect changes to the legislation previewed at the town hall on Nov. 29.
Continue to check on this article for updates.