The Georgetown University Student Association Finance and Appropriations Committee met Feb. 27 to allocate the $1.067 million collected from student fees to advisory boards and student groups on campus.
The overall budget increased by 6.5 percent to $1,066,020 from last year’s $1,000,640. However, the requested budgets of the advisory boards and student groups totaled $1,335,277.19, forcing cuts.
The draft budget, which the FinApp committee deliberated Feb. 27, allocates funding to the Advisory Board on Club Sports, the Georgetown Program Board, the Lecture Fund and Outdoor Education. After advisory boards and student groups appeal for changes to the draft budget, FinApp drafts a new budget proposal March 13. The full GUSA senate is set to vote on the budget March 25.
FinApp approved $75,000 of funding to Media Board, the advisory board that oversees student publications, including The Hoya, for the 2019 fiscal year in its annual budget meeting before spring break.
This decision marked a 30.43 percent increase in funding from last year and a reversal of last year’s FinApp committee decision to cut Media Board’s funding from its 2016 allocation in its draft budget for fiscal year 2019.
Last year, the FinApp committee cut funding for Media Board by 39.5 percent, with an allocated budget of $57,000. Daniel Fain (COL ’18), liaison from Media Board to the FinApp committee, said that the Media Board needs help covering the basic costs of the media organizations on campus.
“They demonstrated that they are in need of a significant increase from fiscal year 18 for basic operational costs, as well as some of the technical issues,” Fain said.
Daniel Almeida (MSB ’18), chair of Media Board, said that much of the increased budget would contribute to updating technology like computer software, covering housing for students who stay over breaks and covering other operational expenses that students currently have to pay out of pocket. (Full disclosure: Almeida served as general manager for The Hoya in 2017.)
Media Board requested a budget of $93,120.19 for all school-sponsored media organizations on campus. It asked for a minimum budget of about $80,000.
Christopher Holshouser (MSB ’18), FinApp committee chair, cited Media Board’s ability to cover operational costs on a lower budget as the reason for FinApp’s reluctance to allocate the board its requested amount.
“I do have a high level of skepticism that if they told FinApp last year that their bare minimum of operation was $57,000 and their reserve account doesn’t appear to have to taken some massive hit from that allocation, I don’t know what could have possibly changed this year to warrant a bare minimums operation that needed 30,000 more dollars,” Holshouser said.
ABCS received a 17.5 percent budget increase to $235,000 from $200,000. The Student Activities Committee’s budget increased by 6.26 percent, and the Performing Arts Advisory Council and Campus Ministry Student Forum saw their budgets decrease by 26.83 percent and 14.61 percent, respectively.
While the FinApp committee approved an increase in funding for Outdoor Education, the Lecture Fund, Georgetown Program Board and the Transfer Council, it cut GUSA’s budget to $6,455 from last year’s $18,950. GUSA President-elect Sahil Nair (SFS ’19) requested close to $25,000 for the GUSA executive funds, with $18,000 of that dedicated to GUSA Fund, which provides funding for other student groups.
Liaisons represent each student group, advocating for their funding requests and needs.
The proposed budget would increase Outdoor Education’s funding by 81.82 percent, up to $10,000 from last year’s budget of $5,500. Outdoor Education holds trips throughout the year, including skiing, hiking, biking and backpacking trips.
Sam Dubke (SFS ’21), the Outdoor Education Liaison to FinApp, said the outdoor resources were limited and highlighted their need for funds to improve equipment and training guides.
“I don’t think we should necessarily be subsidizing their West Coast trips and flights and things like that, but gear and training for guides, that’s an investment in the future that if we make now, we won’t have to make a couple years from now,” Dubke said.
GPB received a 44.63 percent budget increase to $135,000 from $93,340 to help it cover Georgetown Day and new programming it plans to sponsor. GPB hosts social and leisure events for students such as concerts and films.
The high demand for GPB programming events demonstrates its need for an expanded budget to make its programs more accessible and available, according to Elaine Les (NHS ’20), GPB liaison to the FinApp committee.
“I think the numbers of students that they wish to, but are not able to accommodate for based on how quickly their events sell out speaks for itself,” Les said.
ABCS received a budget increase to help cover the increased cost of finding field space during the renovations of Kehoe Field.
ABCS needs $30,000 a year for field expenses, Harry Clow (MSB’19), the ABCS liaison to the FinApp committee, said.
Holshouser said this draft should be a temporary budget increase and advised that next year’s FinApp committee cut ABCS’s budget.
“We can say that this year we are supporting club sports with the caveat that we strongly convey to the next FinApp and to the next student advisory boards for the duration of the tenure for the next month or so that ABCS should plan to get a cut next year because we will not be funding the fields, and that money will be redistributed more equitably amongst the rest of the advisory boards,” Holshouser said.
The draft budget maintains CSJ-ABSO’s funding with a 0.43 percent decrease from last year. Like last year, FinApp did not allocate any of the budget to the Center for Social Justice department. The FinApp committee unanimously declined to include the Council of Advisory Boards in the budget.