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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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For second year, SA funds increase

The Student Association has just under $1 million to dole out to student organizations and fund University-wide events this fall, the highest amount in the organization’s history.

SA Finance Committee Chair John Bennett, U-at Large, said his committee will likely have $950,000 to allocate to student organizations, but that number may change as some tuition bills have yet to be paid.

The amount the SA has to allocate has increased incrementally since 2008, when a student referendum was passed to increase the student fee, and subsequently increased the amount in the SA’s allocations pool. Before the student fee was passed in the 2007-2008 academic year, the SA had $476,314 to allocate to more than 300 student organizations across campus.

Beginning in the fall of 2008, the student fee was increased from $1 per credit hour to $1.50, with the University matching the 50-cent hike. With each passing year, the SA’s pool of money to fund student organizations has increased by about $200,000 and will continue to increase until the fall of 2012, when all students will be paying the higher fee.

The Student Association touted a $1.1 million allocation pool last fall but because of an accounting error, the pot dwindled to about $930,000.

In their last meeting of the spring, the SA voted to overhaul their funding allocation process to give student groups greater discretion over their individual budgets. Under the new system, the SA will dole out 85 percent of its funds to student organizations at the beginning of the year. This money is intended to cover each groups’ expenses for the entire year

“Given the change to all the [financial allocation] structure, there’s going to be much higher need for outreach than there ever has in the past. We’re trying to be more proactive in the way we communicate,” Bennett said.

Bennett said he plans to crack down on expenditures that are “unnecessary or frivolous,” promising not to approve funding for events that are simply “an excuse to get together and socialize and have fun.”

James Bonneau, a finance committee member and a graduate-at-large senator, warned groups to be transparent about their funding needs.

“I can imagine that on the student org side of things, there is a natural tendency to inflate budget estimations in the hope that the Finance Committee gives the org enough money,” Bonneau said. “The bottom line is that if students are number one, realistic, and number two, specific, in their requests, the process will be a lot smoother and the better chance an org stands at getting their request.”

Bennett said his committee will also favor groups who want to put on events with “large net benefits” for students.

“My job as finance chair is to fund programming that enhances student experiences,” Bennett said. He encourages groups to “keep events open to all students, promote them well.”

The deadline for student groups to submit their budget requests to the finance committee is Sept. 23, with the first allocations bill being put to a vote Oct. 3.

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