By Lindsay haislip
One of the SGA’s most challenging tasks is determining the budget each semester for Washington College’s clubs and organizations. This year was especially time consuming, with 82 clubs requesting funding.
Student Activities was allocated $145,093.65 this semester with a $14,308.73 rollover from last semester. Clubs and organizations requested $274,840.52, and with only $159,402.38 to allocate, the Budget Committee was forced to be quite selective in the process.
This year’s process was a bit different from last year’s, as the committee implemented a new and more personal way for clubs to request funds.
“We gave each club the opportunity to basically pitch to us why they should get allocated the money that they requested,” said SGA President Andrew Antonio.
“It’s more personal; previously, we used to just sit at a table together and look at a spreadsheet and just see figures on a piece of paper, whereas now, it’s a much more individual and objective experience for both the clubs and for us,” said Antonio.
The committee also took a bit of a different approach this year in determining which clubs and organizations on campus were the most deserving of the funds. Those clubs and organizations that the committee felt were the most geared toward helping the local and greater community were important considerations in the allocation process.
“It’s okay to fund hobbies and interests, but at the end of the day, we want to make sure that our investment is a good one, and we want to see return on that investment,” said Antonio, “and for us, return on investment means serving others and benefiting the Washington College community.”
The committee and the SGA as a whole want to challenge our clubs and organizations to give back in terms of community service and philanthropy.
“$160,000 is a lot of money that we can do a lot of good with,” Antonio said, “and that’s what we’re going to start targeting our budget toward, is those clubs that do good with it.”
At the end of the budgeting process, which, this year, took more than eight days to complete, the committee is left with a spreadsheet that details what each club requested, what the committee wanted to give them in funding, and what they were actually able to give them.
Financial Controller Michael Drake said, “What we want them to know is that we probably wanted to give them a lot more than what they ended up getting. We have limited funding; numbers don’t lie. We can’t really do anything about that, so at some point we really have to buckle down and make some cuts. It’s unfortunate, but we only get what the student activities fee gives us.”
Now that the budget has been approved and can not be re-allocated, those clubs that feel that they are passionate about some of their events that got cut are able to make a presentation to the committee to receive additional money through the discretionary fund.
“The discretionary fund is not there so that you can come tell us why we were wrong in cutting your request, rather it’s there so that the Senate can make some decisions on whether or not you’ve gone back and reworked your budget to figure out how you can do a lot with a little, and then come before the Senate with a different request for some funding if you need it,” said Drake.
The discretionary fund is currently just about as big as it has ever been, “so if you didn’t get what you wanted, don’t be completely disheartened. There is always opportunity to come before the Senate and request more,” Antonio said.
Both Antonio and Drake would like to thank the Budget Committee for all of their hard work over the past few weeks in implementing the new process.
“It was a lot of hard work, and they did an excellent job,” said Antonio.