USG requires new budget planning measures for some student organizations
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 23:09
Tier II organizations are now forced to plan their budgets a semester in advance if requesting money from the Undergraduate Student Government. The change comes as part of an overhaul of USG’s funding policies that was ratified at last Wednesday’s Senate meeting.
“We need groups to plan so we can plan,” said comptroller Edward Courchaine, a 5th-semester structural biology and biophysics major.
Under the new policies organizations will apply for funding the semester before and ,upon review of their request, the funding board will provide them with a list of all the documentation needed to finish the request. Funding board chair John Giardina, a 5th semester economics and molecular cell biology major, explained how, in the past, applications were due on Wednesday and reviewed for a decision by Monday giving the Funding board only couple of days to review 60 to 70 applications. Many times if a organization lacked the proper documentation, its funding was denied simply because the funding board did not have the time to request and receive the required paperwork. Under the new policies not only will USG have more time to review applications, but by also providing a list of documentation directly to the organizations, paperwork issues are less likely to occur.
“In that respect it will be easier to put the organizations and funding board on the same page,” said Giardina.
In the event that unforeseen expenses arise organizations may apply directly to the Senate. In this instance organizations must have two senators to sponsor them, provide their requests to the funding board that will review it and give a recommendation to the Senate, separate from general funding. The Senate then makes the decision to approve or deny the request.
This semester’s budget for USG is approximately $450,000, and Courchaine said they are expecting a similar amount next semester. Of that organizations can receive a maximum of $12,000 over the entire semester, although typically only one or two organizations receive that amount. Organizations are provided funding at decreasing percentages depending on the type of request submit. Groups requesting funding for events that take place on or off campus, which are open and actively promoted to the entire undergraduate population, and for necessary operating supplies or equipment, will be funded in full up to the maximum of $12,000. All other requests will be funded a maximum of 75 percent. The funding policies guarantee that 60 percent of each approved request will be funded. The percentages may be adjusted to allow partial funding for the greatest number of requests.
If there is a funding shortage USG, will first lower the amount of funding an organization can receive. If USG is still over budget after adjusting the percentages, the funding board will begin to deny funding starting at the lowest priority category.
Both Courchaine and Giardina were optimistic that the new policies would prevent USG from having to deny funding to insufficient funds.
Giardina said, “I think the policies were set up well, so even if we go over budget we won’t have to cut any applications out right.”
In addition to the changes in policies made, the new document is shorter and clearer than the former one, according to Giardina and Courchaine. They believe the improved clarity of the policies will make it easier for organizations to receive money from USG and allow USG to manage its budget more efficiently.