Student group requests for funding at GUSA’s annual Budget Summit on Sunday totaled $1.6 million, a figure double the amount the student association has on hand to allocate for the upcoming year.
Representatives from more than 30 student organizations, up from 10 last year, submitted requests at the summit, which drew greater numbers following last year’s Student Activities Fee and Endowment reform. The funding shake-up, passed in November, enacted an increase in the Student Activities Fee from $100 to $150 over two years and boosted the amount of funding available to student groups.
Most of the five advisory boards requested double to triple as much as last year, with the Performing Arts Advisory Council asking for six times last year’s request. Many clubs and organizations that had not approached the Georgetown University Student Association last year also made their voices heard at the summit.
“Although we received $1.6 million in funding requests and only have $800,000 to allocate this year, it’s clear that student organizations got the message of SAFE reform,” said Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), the newly elected chair of GUSA’s Finance and Appropriations Committee.
“Although more money was asked for than we have to give, we will still be able to substantially increase funding for the advisory boards while funding new initiatives important to students previously out of reach,” Malkerson said.
Clubs are hoping to cash in on the possible funding jump by sponsoring events they have not been able to in the past. The Senior Class Committee, represented by Chair Andrew Malzberg (COL ’11), requested $22,000 in order to fund a Homecoming tailgate and Traditions Day.
According to Malzberg, funding the tailgate would bring the price down from $15 to $10.
“This just makes the tailgate more accessible to students,” he said.
The current student activities budget is more than double the amount it was last academic year, which saw about $360,000 allocated to student activities. This amount was enough to meet about 84 percent of the requests submitted by 10 student organizations and the advisory boards last year.
The Fin/App Committee will issue a draft budget this week, a document that will be open to comment by clubs and the public. The GUSA Senate will then ratify the finalized budget after spring break.
This year, the Student Activities Commission requested $125,500 from GUSA, up from the $37,000 it requested last year. Last cycle, SAC received $25,000.
According to SAC Chair Andrew Koenig (COL ’12), the amount SAC requested at the Budget Summit along with the commission’s other sources of revenue would be enough to cover the $1.6 million requested by student organizations.
“The amount requested at the Budget Summit was calculated with the goal of being able to have the resources to fund 100 percent of what is stipulated in the SAC funding guidelines for the coming academic year,” Koenig said.
Despite SAFE reform’s wider reach, Fin/App Committee members said they will not be able to fully fund every club’s request, however.
“It’s important to remember that SAFE reform was designed to be implemented gradually with $200,000 more available for next year. This ensures that the advisory boards aren’t overwhelmed with new money this year and that there’s time to adjust,” Malkerson said.
Malkerson predicted that GUSA would be able to allocate about $1 million for the 2012-2013 academic year.
One organization not requesting more funding was GUSA itself. The newly appointed GUSA executive pair requested $28,000 — the same amount of funding allocated to GUSA last year.