The Students’ Association met with representatives from numerous on-campus groups to propose, discuss and debate their budget for the semester on Wednesday.
A record number of student organizations requested funds from the SA this semester with 57 groups requesting approximately $108,000 total. At the start of the meeting, the SA had allotted $42,778.11 to meet the needs of the various clubs.
Joseph Austin, SA finance officer, said many of his decisions regarding funding were related to each group’s respective historical use of the money granted to them by the Students’ Association. With the exception of International Rescue Committee, no group was awarded all of its requested money.
“One of the main things that we try to do for every student organization is to really meet their priority needs,” Austin said. “We’re trying to keep an account of how groups have spent their money in the past, and if they’re being good stewards.”
The budget also allocated funds to Homecoming, the “Welcome to Abilene” event, the Student Initiative, collegiate cards, classes and SA expenses and student wages.
SA’s proposals were initially met with little opposition, but congress and student representatives came into conflict over the budget for Hispanos Unidos, an active Latin American group with a large number of members. Hispanos Unidos requested a large amount of money with a significant proportion to be used for Entra a la Plaza, an event that has been conducted for over 20 years and will be organized again on Friday. Group representatives believed SA had not granted enough funds for the event to be successful.
Wilson White, senior history major from Ozona said, “It got a little hot at times, the groups having budgeting issues, other groups wanting to take money from other groups.”
Ultimately Jeff Arrington, associate vice president for Student Life, said Entra a la Plaza would go forward as planned after speaking with Byron Martin, interim director the Office ofÂ MulticulturalÂ Enrichment, by telephone regarding the deficit in funding. Hispanos Unidos, which has traditionally not performed fundraisers, may now consider ways it can raise additional funds on its own.
The meeting lasted approximately two hours. Discussion also included the possibility purchasing some of the requested items, but after cycling through the list of organizations and resolving the issue with Entra a la Plaza, the proposal was met with little debate and the budget was passed successfully.
“Overall, I think the meeting went well,” said David Sanderson, sophomore biochemistry major from El Paso. “I believe there are times that it was more tense, as all meetings are, because not every student group can get funded all the money. We got some good clarification between student groups, and I think all the money was spent well.”