The Georgetown University Student Association Finance and Appropriations Committee released a budget draft Thursday for student organizations looking to receive funding from GUSA in the coming fiscal year.
The Division of Student Affairs had previously agreed to fund all student advocacy boards with 27.5 percent of the Division of Student Affairs’ overall budget. The remaining 72.5 percent will be funded through GUSA’s budget of $998,400 for the 2015 fiscal year, according to GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee Chair Seamus Guerin (COL ’16).
The committee released the budget draft after hearing the final presentation from GUSA executive-elects Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) and Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15). Appeals to the budget are open until March 19 when a final budget will be released.
GUSA’s budget comes from a $150 student activity fee that each student pays, which is included in tuition. The total comes to around $1 million each year, which FinApp divides between student groups.
According to Guerin, the new allocation system was decided upon after problems with the previous system, in which several groups had control over how much funding student groups received, and funding was not distributed as proportionally.
“The problem was created then between the advisory boards, the Finance and Appropriations Committee and the Division of Student Affairs, so the relationship between the three [groups] and between any two actors was unsure at times,” Guerin said.
According to Guerin, the FinApp advocated for the change for the sake of clarity and equality.
Previously, advocacy boards received drastically different dollar amounts and proportional funding from Student Affairs. The Georgetown Program Board was previously allocated up to 50 percent of the GUSA budget, while the Advisory Board for Club Sports received only 3 percent. This year’s proposal apportions $125,000 to GPD and $170,000 to ABCS.
The new system places the vast majority of funding for all advocacy boards in the hands of the FinApp, a move Guerin said will improve the student funding dynamic.
“To have student voices being heard throughout the process, I think, is enriching for the FinApp. I think it’s enriching for the students who are presenting; I think everybody learns something along the way,” Guerin said. A presentation in front of the FinApp does not guarantee funding, according to Guerin.
The dollar amounts that Student Affairs allocated for each student advisory board had not been changed or re-evaluated in years, according to Assistant Dean for Student Engagement Erika Cohen-Derr. The effectiveness of the new proportional system will be evaluated at the end of the next fiscal year and, proceeding, at two-year intervals.
The Georgetown University Lecture Fund, which seeks funding independently of any advisory board, is not subject to the Division of Student Affairs’ funding decisions.
According to Lecture Fund Executive Board Chair Chris Mulrooney (COL ’14), the student group requested more money than in previous years past because of an increase in speaker events.
“It has been increasingly hard for the Lecture Fund to work within our budget constraints given the level of student programming taking place on campus,” Mulrooney wrote in an email. “We’ve only been able to provide just under 50 percent of the funds requested from us due to an increased number of campus organizations submitting event proposals to the Lecture Fund.”
The Lecture Fund received $72,000 in funding.
The Georgetown Day Planning Committee also presented to the Finance and Appropriations Committee for the first time this year in order to bypass the arduous process of appealing to each advisory board for funding, but it will not receive a 27.5 percent share from Student Affairs.
The student group requested $20,000 from GUSA, equivalent to funds the group usually receives by advocating to each advisory board, receiving $16,900.
“It’s essentially the same money, just a roundabout way of getting it. … We’ll continue with our model of going from department to department asking for money, it just takes off a little bit of the burden by getting all of the advisory boards in one fell swoop,” Georgetown Day Planning Committee Chair Andi DeBellis (MSB ’14) said.
DeBellis did not anticipate impediments in procuring funding comparable to previous years from the Division of Student Affairs.
“It’s [Georgetown Day is] a very established day,” DeBellis said. “It’s not very logical why funding wasn’t established in the past because everybody expects year after year Georgetown Day to occur.”
The budget proposal also allows for $1,000 in discretionary funds for the GUSA executive and $2,000 in reserve funds. The GUSA General Fund, which featured prominently into GUSA candidates’ budgets, had a proposed allocation of $21,000.