Student Congress passed the Students’ Association fall budget in record time during Wednesday night’s session.
In a meeting lasting less than an hour, the $163,076 budget passed with only one amendment before being approved unanimously by the 51 members of Congress.
Because of the addition of the student activity fee last spring, SA had more money to distribute this year, leaving less need for students to debate over allocations.
The student organization budget increased to about $49,000 from last spring’s $39,000. Additionally, the appropriations fund more than doubled in size. That $8,000 – up from last year’s $3,000 – will be up for grabs for student groups who request additional funds throughout the semester. Also added to this year’s budget is the campus entertainment fund of $62,000, which makes up 38 percent of overall SA expenses.
Morgan Jennings, SA executive treasurer, along with chief financial officer Austin Cotton, said they put in many hours before the meeting hoping the budget would pass quickly.
“I’m really excited it was so successful, because, you know, you worry about things when you work so hard on them,” said Jennings, junior accounting major from Abilene. “I really appreciate Congress trusting us. I was hoping it would pass this quickly, but did I anticipate it? Probably not, considering the historical track record of budget meetings.”
The budget meeting has, in the past, had a reputation for lengthy debate among student groups and representatives, but changes in the format reduced discussion to a minimum. When put on the floor for amendments, Room 201 was quiet before anyone motioned to amend.
Rachael Shudde, sophomore mathematics and political science major from Ovalo, submitted the only amendment to the budget. Shudde motioned to fund International Justice Mission’s Liberty in North Korea Chapel forum by moving funds from five different student groups. Country Club, Sanctify and Student Association of Social Work each had $50 of their funds moved to IJM; $25 was pulled from both League of Wildcats and Wildlife Society. This $200 is now allocated toward hosting a Chapel forum related to humanitarian work in North Korea.
After Shudde’s motion passed with a 24-18-5 vote, Congress motioned to previous question, putting the budget up for final Congressional approval with no further amendments. This vote passed 48-0-3. In one swift motion, the overall budget was approved unanimously, made public and the meeting adjourned.
Cotton, senior finance major from Keller, said he felt good about his first budget meeting as CFO.
“It was definitely a learning curve for me, not being in SA before,” Cotton said. “We’ve put in a lot of work these last few weeks and it’s exciting to see it go through so smoothly, and we appreciate Rachael helping to make it even better.”