The Students’ Association will vote this weekend on its fall semester budget that should allot tens of thousands of dollars to student groups.
But without fail, when all the money has been handed out, some groups will feel sleighted or marginalized.
And it’s true. Not every group will receive all the money it wanted. However, for groups to think only about what they did or did not receive excludes dozens of other groups’ needs.
Executive treasurer Tyler Cosgrove allocated about $40,000 to student groups both semesters last year—even after he discovered SA’s budget would be responsible for a $30,000 debt left by the previous year’s administration.
With half of last year’s executive officers still in office—Cosgrove and vice president Melanie Booker—this has been an administration that has reached out and helped student groups. The same should be expected this year.
Last year, Cosgrove instituted a set of budgetary principles to uniformly limit the amount Congress would spend on certain items for groups such as airfare, travel costs and registration fees. The principles also clearly pointed out items that Congress would not fund like social club internal events or clothing.
This set of uniform standards has helped make the budgeting process seem less arbitrary, plus it lets groups know at the front end what funding they can expect to have cut or reduced.
But even if those principles are followed verbatim, more money will be requested than is available.
Last semester, student groups requested about $111,000—near the amount Congress had for its entire spring-semester budget—and only about $46,000 was allocated toward student groups. A year ago, groups asked for about $20,000 more than was allocated to them.
Cuts will have to be made, and most groups will feel the effects of those cuts.
And as groups see how much money they received and how much was cut, they should realize one truth: No single group’s cause is more worthy than another. All groups contribute to the campus in some way, and all groups deserve an equal chance at funding.
Granted, each group’s bottom line will be different, but so are their needs.
Some groups request thousands of dollars; others hundreds. But all will likely see a similar percentage of their request cut.
Whether the group provides a service to the community or the campus, to the needy or to business majors, all groups provide an invaluable service to the university, even if it is simply a way for students to be involved.
If Congress follows precedent set during the past few semesters, groups should receive a fair share of available money.
And groups need to appreciate what they do receive instead of passing judgment on the merit of another group’s contribution.
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