Jonathan Wilkerson is saving you money.
Last year’s Students’ Association was an exercise in bloated bureaucracy and financial incompetence, thanks to mismanagement of student funds by committees, classes and Congress.
Jeremy Smith, who at the time was co-chair of the Spring Break Campaigns committee, told Congress at the beginning of last semester to “spend your money wisely.” Congress proceeded to do exactly the opposite.
By the end of the semester, the budget was barely able to handle any strain put upon it, and the student request fund was all but dry. And what did students have to show for it? Maybe a formal or a devo. In other words, not much.
Smith, who is now SA’s president, and Wilkerson, SA’s treasurer, are fighting against that problem by tightening the budget and making sure student money is spent the way it’s supposed to be spent: bettering the students’ college experience through advocacy.
Wilkerson’s new budget keeps a tighter control over congressional spending and allows students to directly request more money from SA. This makes plain economic sense. Students invariably know how to spend their money better than any government official, and giving the request funds more money allows the students to get more direct return on their fee.
Likewise, requiring committees and classes to submit an itemized budget and holding them to it is smart.
After $10,000 languished while at least two committees ran over budget and the request fund dropped, something had to be done. After the sophomore class never used $5,300 of its budget last semester, more accountability was badly needed. So we wonder why no one ever thought of such a novel concept before: make people spend the money they promised to spend on the things they promised to spend it on.
Any president or director or department chair can tell you it is easier said than done to rein the spending habits of a couple dozen people. Previous SA administrations have tried and failed-witness a $107,000 budget last semester that nearly disappeared.
Now it’s this administration’s turn. The reforms Wilkerson has presented are sound fiscal policy: they cut down on government waste, which makes each student’s fee last longer and essentially saves the students money.
But it’s putting that policy into action that counts. Because it’s not actually Congress’ money, it’s your money,
Make sure SA spends it well.