by Jacqueline Stoughton
With over 100 clubs on campus, SGA must undertake the responsibility of allocating budgets to all clubs, a process that SGA has been accused of being unfair at on multiple occasions when determining how much money is given to each club.
“I think that SGA tries to find anyway possible to cut funding from clubs. Ever since I’ve been involved with the PE club the funding has gone down. The year before I attended CCSU, our funding has gone down from just over $10,000 to $4,770,” said Niko Zimmitti, president of the PE club. “We did ask to see the budget allocations for the last three years to see if there was a trend. We still haven’t received them.”
“Clubs always feel like they’re being ripped off, that’s the reason I joined SGA, when my club didn’t get enough money and I wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen to other clubs,” said Kory Mills, Treasurer of SGA.
SGA begins its funding to clubs for the school year in lump sums; every April, clubs must submit a base budget request. This includes submitting a written-out, detailed report of all the events and trips they need funded. The proposal needs to match their club’s mission statement, and clubs are encouraged to present their proposal to the finance committee as well.
“Ideally, we want to give more money for putting on more on campus events and to larger clubs,” said Mills. “Or, if they present to us they’ll have a better chance of getting more money since we’ll understand what they’re asking for better. They have the opportunity to show us what they want, we have the opportunity to ask questions for clarification.”
According to Mills, $638,000 is put into the SGA large account every year, which the bylaws mandate 62 percent to go toward campus club funding. This means that SGA has $321,000 for base budgets that must be split up between 110 clubs.
“I’ve heard that they [SGA] have extra money and they just aren’t awarding it to fund the budgets of clubs. I don’t understand why that is. Perhaps they have some kind of motivation to keep the fund big, I’m not sure,” said Joseph Dauphinais, vice president of the International Association of Business Communications. “Much of that money should be given out though. I’m not suggesting that they pay for fun trips that have nothing to do with education, but it shouldn’t be too much to ask for our membership dues to be covered.”
“The problem with that is when we originally allocated that money in the bylaws we only had about 68 clubs,” said Mills. “So, over the years, we haven’t gotten any more student activities fees, so every year we have to give clubs less money because we have more and more clubs with the same amount of money.”
Mills explains how, since this obviously wasn’t enough money, he persuaded the finance committee to up the base budget amount to $414,000, so clubs would receive a little more money this year. The money used to increase this base budget amount was supplemented from SGA’s own reserve account.
Although it’s not ideal, since this is what causes clubs to accuse SGA of being unfair with their budgeting, cuts need to be made. This year, SGA will no longer be funding individual chapter dues. They will only fund large chapter dues for the whole group on campus. For sports teams, 30 percent automatically goes towards all sports teams on campus. But, if teams want something extra other than the basics that SGA will fund — such as team jerseys — they must pay for that on their own.
Dauphinais says that things such as membership dues for a club that is academically orientated should absolutely be covered. If any clubs should be favored in any way, it is the academic clubs instead of the special interest clubs: “I’m not sure how they favor them, and if friends of friends are awarded more, or if politics are heavily involved.”
“To make this a more fair process I don’t think that the SGA should have total control over the budget. I personally think that there should be a huge meeting where the SGA, presidents, and treasurers of each club meet and go over the budget for the upcoming school year,” said Zimmitti. “The SGA can go over what they plan to give each club and if there is disagreement with the budget funding for one club it can be disputed during that time. There can be a vote with everybody there to see if that budget funding is justified for that club.”
New this year, clubs who are denied the funds that they request have the opportunity to come back and file a contingency request where they’re able to ask for that money again in the fall. Clubs can also file a contingency request if they need more money for unanticipated, new or emergency events that pop up. Contingencies follow the same process as base budgets, except contingencies require that clubs present to the finance committee.
“It’s a little more work on the clubs part but we think but we think it’s more fair to make sure they present to us, we really want them to have the money,” said Mills. A supplement budget of $40,000 is also available for clubs this year that want to hold campus events or trips.
“At the end of the day we have a lot of clubs and not a lot of money, not everyone’s going to be happy,” said Mills. “Not everyone’s going to be happy, we have to cut sometimes, but there’s simply not enough money for every single club to get what they want.”