The Georgetown University Student Association finance and appropriations committee released its draft budget allocating $1,092,000 in student activities funds Feb. 26.
While the overall budget for the 2019-20 school year increased by 2.4 percent from last year, the requested student activities budget totaled more than $1,321,040, forcing cuts.
The budgets requested by the Advisory Board for Club Sports and the Center for Social Justice Advisory Board for Student Organizations saw the greatest cuts. Fin/App decreased ABCS’ proposed funds by $88,755 and cut CSJ ABSO’s budget by $38,505.80.
Advisory boards and student groups can appeal for changes to the draft budget March 12, and the Fin/App committee will formulate a new budget proposal March 17. The GUSA senate is set to vote on the final proposal March 24.
Fin/App, which is made up of 12 GUSA senators, allocates money to seven advisory boards, Georgetown Program Board, the Georgetown University Lecture Fund and the GUSA executive-elect. Each of these applicants had the opportunity to present proposed budgets in front of the committee at the Feb. 24 Fin/App summit.
The seven advisory boards, which then distribute the money to individual clubs and other student groups, are the Student Activities Commission, Performing Arts Advisory Council, Media Board, CSJ ABSO, Campus Ministry Student Forum and ABCS.
Much of the discussion during Tuesday night’s deliberations concerned the CSJ ABSO’s requested budget of $180,042.96. Several committee members were concerned about the $37,000 rollover of unused funds from the previous year.
Harry Clow (MSB ’19), the ABCS liaison to the Fin/App committee, questioned the CSJ’s claim that it would be unable to operate with a budget lower than $140,000 despite functioning with that budget in the previous year.
Senator Harrison Nugent (SFS ’20), the CMSF liaison to Fin/App, also drew attention to the money the CSJ ABSO has on reserve and urged the committee to focus on clubs experiencing difficulty with funding; the board currently has $103,873 in its reserve account.
Samantha Moreland (COL ’21), liaison to the CSJ ABSO, spoke about the service aspect of the CSJ’s Alternative Spring Break program and the opportunities it provides to students.
“Not funding fully for ABPs will prevent many students from going on spring breaks, and these students are doing a lot of good work,” Moreland said.
The final draft allocated $141,537 to the CSJ, a 21.4 percent decrease from the requested amount of $180,042.
Media Board, the advisory board that oversees student publications, including The Hoya, The Voice and The Anthem, requested a budget of $109,220. Although senators initially voted to fund in full, they later had to cut the drafted budget by 9.8 percent to give money to CSJ ABSO.
Media Board is taking on two new clubs this year, including Georgetown University Collective of Creative Individuals, a group for students to collaborate on different musical, creative or artistic projects.
At the deliberations, GUSA Senator Dylan Hughes (COL ’19), liaison to the transfer council, which hosts events to ease the transition for transfer students, was skeptical about the significance of Georgetown Program Board events in terms of the number of attendees and the duration that students stay at these events.
Events hosted by GPB include weekly film screenings in the Healey Family Student Center, an annual spring concert and annual programming for Georgetown Day.
Other senators, such as PAAC liaison Sam Dubke (SFS ’21), pushed back, citing the openness of GPB as an essential function of the group.
Clow agreed with Dubke and said a larger GPB budget would allow for a greater variety of events.
“GPB puts on many different kinds of events, so when you give them more money, it enables them to put on more diverse programing,” Clow said.
The committee ultimately approved $140,000 for GPB in its proposed budget, 5.72 percent less than the club’s requested budget of $148,500.
The ABCS received a working budget of $221,000, compared to a requested budget of $309,755, a decrease of 28.65 percent. In their deliberations, the senators discussed the nature of sports equipment, which requires a higher budget, and debated Fin/App’s role in funding off-campus field space.
The Fin/App committee allocated $305,000 to the Student Activities Commission, a $20,000 cut from its original request of $325,000. The advisory board for the majority of clubs on campus, SAC distributes funds to over 110 student organizations.
Senators called SAC the most fiscally responsible group and attributed the increase from last year’s request of $300,000 to additional ad hoc funds needed by SAC organizations as unexpected costs arise.
The GUSA executive-elect also experienced a significant cut to their request, asking for $26,760 and only receiving $4,000 from Fin/App. The cuts were mainly attributed to the needs of other student organizations.
Fin/App allocated $5,500 to Outdoor Education in its draft budget, a 55.28 percent cut from its requested amount of $12,300. The Lecture Fund received $85,000 in funds as opposed to its request of $98,000.
This article was updated on March 12 to correct the amount in the CSJ ABSO reserves.