On Wednesday, the Students’ Association met to pass a bill for their spring budget. It looked and sounded a lot like last fall’s budget meeting, but there were a few differences worth noting.
The most significant probably being the size of the budget as a whole. When the SA budget goes down, it usually means enrollment is down. But whatever the reason, it means less money all around.
At first glance of the numbers above, it looks like student groups took a bigger hit from budget cuts while Congress and the executive office remain the same as last semester. While the officers’ salaries did remain the same, they were able to cut out about $3,300 in line item expenses like the SA retreat and the student discount card and eliminated the printing expense of $1,250.
But the wisest budget cut on the executive office’s part was the reduction in its marketing fund. Last semester we commented on how it seemed a little unnecessary to need $1,000 to print posters or whatever type of advertising it couldn’t do on Facebook (we’re assuming most of that money went to pay for the giant red Christmas Slam banner that hung outside the Campus Center in December, but who really knows). Either way, reducing the marketing fund to $250 seems more reasonable.
Continuing with the wise moves, they also increased the appropriations fund. And Congress helped out there too, voting on Wednesday to increase it by an additional $290. Appropriations may sound inconsequential, but we think this fund is pretty crucial in helping out the student groups who weren’t aware of the budget request process or who just need extra funding later on in the semester.
Over all, the meeting ran smoothly. While we remain skeptical of how representative Congress actually is of the student body as a whole (most students have no idea who their dorm or building representative is), we must commend Congress members for their diligent efforts during the meeting. The questions they asked and their attention to detail made up for their seemingly lack of knowledge about each student organization.
As budget meetings continue in a similar fashion to Wednesday’s, we believe all Congress members will have to continue to be as prepared and involved in the process, leaving less room for members to take a laissez-faire attitude on the matter. Congress members will have to step up their game, as they did on Wednesday, and not only acknowledge the student groups on campus, but learn their purposes and be able to advocate for them.