The Student Government Association (SGA) helps fund student organizations by giving out $700,000 per year amongst its 41 groups. However, the process is not as simple as it seems, according to some students.
A group must first be recognized by Campus Life and after they have been recognized for one year, they are eligible to be chartered by SGA. In order to receive funding, a group must be chartered by SGA, according to SGA Vice President for Finance Matt Powers. Then, they co-operate with SGA to write a group constitution. Finally, the constitution has to be approved at an SGA meeting.
Elizabeth Walker, the president of the Global Affairs club, successfully regained her organization’s charter in early November. The club lost its charter due to the actions of its former president. In trying to regain the charter, Walker said she liked the assistance that she got from SGA.
“Everyone that I’ve had to email and try to talk to has been helpful and supportive and has given us every opportunity that we may need to get budgets or chartering,” she said.
Once a group is chartered with SGA, it is able to get a portion of the SGA funds. The amount of money each group receives tends to stay the same each year because the number of chartered organizations has stayed about the same, Powers said.
The group that receives the most funding is the Student Programing Board (SPB).
The groups work with SGA to designate where the money is being used, whether it’s for meetings or events. Also, the budgeting of money can be determined based on past record.
“If a group put on a successful event, using all their budget, and a lot of people came, [SGA Finance Committee] will likely grant that to them again,” Powers said. “If they had an event, and it didn’t go so well, we might cut [the budget] a little bit to let them try again and try to make it a better event.”
If a group does not like how much they have been allotted for a certain event, they can appeal for more money. If a group can make a good case for needing more money for an event, the budget change will be made and will be noted for the following year, Powers said.
The Quinnipiac Film Society (QFS) has tried to appeal for more money on a number of accounts, QFS Secretary James Anderson said. The club has a yearly event called the Quinnies where students’ short films are judged. However, the group wishes to move some of the money it receives for that event to its annual trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Anderson says the point of the trip is to help club members create connections that can lead to a job.
QFS’s Sundance trip can get expensive because students need to pay for lodging and travel, he said. It is seeking more funds to make the trip cheaper for club members.
But Powers said the Sundance trip is considered a conference, meaning SGA will only provide funds for an advisor and up to two people to go. Powers also said QFS had requested more money in the past for the Quinnies. He disagrees with what QFS is trying to do to get around SGA policy.
“You can’t cancel an event and use all that money for a conference which would then make it conflict with the financial policy,” Powers said.
Despite the issue, Anderson still acknowledges the need for SGA to have some control over groups’ budgets. However, he still maintains his position on the Sundance issue.
“If SGA is going to give an organization money, they should be allowed to regulate it so you can’t go and buy a car or something that a club would never need,” he said. “But you should be allowed to move it in and out of those categories as your club sees fit.”
Even though issues can appear from time to time for groups, Walker, who has since regained her group’s charter, remains optimistic about SGA.
“SGA in general wants to see the organizations succeed, which is why I think they do a good job,” she said.