Senate to Clubs: Ask For Funding Next Semester

Alexandrea Jerome

Student Senate told club leaders earlier this month to hold off with their budgeting requests at the roundtable meeting due to the Senate’s cut in budget.

With the changes that have been made to the Student Activity Fee, the Senate has received less money and therefore has been unable to provide funding to clubs in a manner that is similar to what they have done in the past.

“We are trying to be understanding and we are trying to help you out as much as we can, but it’s going to be hard. If there is something that can wait until next semester we encourage you to wait until next semester to bring it to us because we will have a lot more money to work with next semester,” said Zach Meikle, vice president of Senate.

However, the “more money” Meikle said is to be expected in the Spring Semester of 2017 is not going to be more funding at all. Instead, the budget is going to be more intact. If Senate feels it is necessary, they will increase the Student Activity Fee next year to provide more funding for the clubs, but no increases will be done this year.

This year, Senate’s budget shrank after a “fundamental change to how students pay into the student activity fee,” Meikle said in an email interview.

This change was based on the success rate of using a “flat rate” fee, instead of a percentage of student tuition. In the past, tuition was increased by 3 percent but, this year it only increased by 1.6 percent and a Student Activities Fee was added to student bills. This Student Activity Fee is where the budget for Senate is coming from instead of from the student’s tuition, according to Vice President of Senate Finances Bailey Barber

“Senate is dealing with a much smaller budget this semester. We don’t have a whole lot of money so it’s going to be difficult for all of us to
get through this as well as we can,” said Meikle.

According to Meikle, there was talk towards the end of last year that “the school would be changing how Senate received its’ funding” but, at the time, they were unsure of the impact it would have on various campus clubs.

To put in perspective the impact that Senate has on campus clubs, Robbi Pearce from Campus Ministry said that in addition to the unexpected cut in their budget they were also faced with a lack of communication from Senate.

“We have found ways to make our events work, but the late communication about the budget cut was where we had the hardest time because it took away from our advertisement and planning time,” Pearce said.

This year, every club is starting in the “same standing” in order to not have a deficit and thus have a more intact budget, but not more money.

This new budget is not going to be the same as it has been in previous years. However, the new Student Activity Fee is allowing for more “freedom” within the budget, said Meikle. With that, there will be an opportunity to increase the Student Activity Fee for years to come if there seems to have been an inadequate amount of money this year.

“It’s hard to say where our financial standing will be in the next year,” said Meikle. “We hope that after this year we will be able to find a more stable amount for our budget in order to aid as many students as possible.”