With the end of the school year fast approaching, both Student Union and the Student Union Programing Board have been working to determine how the Student Activities budget should be dispersed.
With the new allocation of the budget, organizations are given a designated amount of money each year to fund their programs, attempting to further proportion and specify the activities budget. The Student Union released a statement on the further apportionment of the student activity fees for next school year:
“A lot of effort and consideration went into determining Student Activity Fee allocations for next year. We put a lot of thought into how the money could be distributed in a way that most benefited students and served to enhance student life. We were able to expand immersion experiences, leadership development, athletic spirit activities and fitness room funding, among others. Any cuts in budget were carefully considered and the organizations still have ample funds to efficiently plan and execute next year’s events. All cuts in budget were made to specific organizations; the student activity fee will not be decreased.”
Student Union has also been cracking down on which student organizations receive funding, requesting information and statistics from organizations and analyzing how much of an impact groups have on campus.
Mary Ann Hanicak, assistant vice president of student affairs, said that the Violence Prevention and Action Center will now be among organizations funded through the Student Activity Fee. The allocation of the budget will be dispersed further to accommodate the increasing size of prominent organizations, like the Violence Prevention and Action Committee, on campus.
The minutes from the Student Union meeting on April 16 indicated that with money being assigned more specifically to organizations across campus, there may be less money left over for specialty programs for the summer and increased funding of organizations.
The minutes also indicated that some of the leftover budget will go towards projects in the summer, such as the projected renovation of the natatorium bathrooms as well as improvements to the fitness studio. Hanicak also said that some organizations who do not prove their impact on campus to be as significant as others may be denied increased or substantive funding. The budget may allow organizations to ask for what they need in their funding; however, major organizations may ask for more than they need.
Steve Henderson, vice president for student organizations, said, “The money that’s left over doesn’t benefit the people; it may not go to where we want it. I see nothing wrong with giving more than an organization requests.”
This new appropriation may take away opportunities for the special projects for organizations that may request more need-based funding as the year goes on.
Junior Elizabeth Egan said, “Organizations may go and blow the money faster, and try to spend it on more extravagant things because of their budget, and then be left needing an excess of money that the University may not have to give out.”
The Student Union expressed their confidence, saying, “The allocated organizations will use their funds to best enrich the student experience, build community and encourage students to live out the Jesuit mission to lead and serve.”
Many students agree with Student Union that the new appropriation of funds will be beneficial to the JCU community.
Freshman Samantha Stein said, “Narrowing in on exactly which organizations are making the biggest impact will be an overall positive thing for the organizations across campus, allowing students to have a set budget for the powerful groups on campus.”
Freshman Jordan de Bord had a different take on the budget plan. He explained that he believes a budget should partially depend on the needs at the time.
He said, “For example, if there is a fund that needs the money and will do good, yes, [it is] appropriate there. However, if you are doing it just for the sake of appropriating funds, then I would suggest that you make sure the money is used in the most fiscally responsible way.”
“Student Union should have at least a projection of where the bulk of the money will go,” said De Bord. “For example, if one account has a surplus of funds and one account does not have the funds it needs, they have put themselves in a bind.”
Unallocated funds from the Student Activity Fee in the past have gone towards funding the following: immersion reflections in the classroom, East Coast Custard truck, Cleveland Browns games, Student Professional Development, Mindful Nation, all-campus Labor Day barbecue, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” music events, bicycling and kayaking trips, Cedar Point trips, Women’s Health Day, free flu shots for students, grills for student organizations/student affairs and the “Blue Streaks in Dublin” web cast party.
With the release of the new budget projected for May, students can anticipate further information about what opportunities will be given next year in activities provided across campus.