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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

April 19, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

News

SGC depletes club funding for academic year

The Student Governance Council has exhausted its allocation funds for the 201718 academic year and will not be able to supply funding for student organizations until Fall 2018.

The SGC officially used the remainder of its allocation funds during the Feb. 7 allocation meeting, and will not have a renewed budget until next semester. The college gives the allocation budget to the Appropriations Committee at the beginning of each academic year. This year, the Appropriations Committee had a budget of $265,880 dollars and had $87,000 dollars remaining in the budget at the beginning of second semester, Gabby Picca, vice president of business and finance, said.

The budget was largely exhausted early in the semester because multiple organizations requested and received large budgets during this first month of the semester, Picca said. One organization that recently requested a large budget was the Festival of Black Gospel, an event held in conjunction with Cornell University, which received the remainder of the allocation funds. Picca said the information of what received funding was not immediately available.

Student organizations may request up to 12.5 percent of the Appropriations Committee’s total starting budget per academic year, according to the Allocations Handbook. There are four types of funding requests student organizations may submit: operational funding, programming funding, travel funding and a fundraising loan.

The process is dictated by the handbook, and if a student organization meets the requirements and guidelines provided by this handbook, the Appropriations Committee is required to provide funding for them on a first come, first served basis, as stated in the SGC Constitution, Picca said.

“It’s not uncommon for organizations to come to us with large budgets,” Picca said. “It just makes it a little bit more unpredictable as to when our budget will be exhausted … the maximum amount is $33,125, and we have seen budgets like that. We’ve had multiple organizations that came in with these budget requests.”

The Appropriations Committee often exhausts the entirety of its funds by the end of the academic year, but each year varies depending on the timing and amount of budgets requested by student organizations, Picca said. She said she did not know when the committee ran out in previous years. Picca said she believed the allocation funds were not exhausted until the end of the academic year in 2017, but the allocation funds were exhausted at approximately the same point in the 2016 academic year as they were in 2018. In 2015, the funds ran out in February.

The ultimate amount of funds remaining at the end of an academic year may influence the budget given to the Appropriations Committee by the college the following year, she said.

If there are still remaining allocation funds at the end of the spring semester, the college may consider reducing the allocation budget. However, the Appropriations Committee has been using most, if not all of the allotted funds during the past years, which may potentially initiate a conversation about adjusting the budget of the committee, Picca said.

The starting budget of $265,880 dollars has remained the same for the past few years. Picca said even though all of the Appropriations Committee funds are given out to student organizations, funds are returned by the end of the academic year. As a result, the college has considered reducing the starting budget, but this was contested by the Office of Student and Multicultural affairs and the budget has remained constant, Picca said via email.

The funds that are returned to the college at the end of the academic year are the leftover allocations that student organizations did not utilize. They are required to return unused funds to the allocation committee 30 days after their scheduled event, Picca said via email.

“I think it’s a discussion to have toward the end of each academic year,” Picca said. “Clearly we can’t do anything about it for this academic year, but I think it’s ultimately up to Ithaca College for how much they want to allocate for the budget.”

On the funding page of the SGC website, a link directs organizations to alternative methods of gaining funding. The suggested methods of gaining funding are through academic departments, the Residence Hall Association, independent fundraising by each organization, depositing funds and the Diversity Awareness Funding Committee.

The Residence Hall Association, one of the alternate methods for funding student organizations, has funds available to accommodate additional student organization budget requests, Treasurer Micaela Wilner said. Student organizations that are not directly affiliated with the Office of Residential Life have a funding cap of $150 dollars, and the Residence Hall Association has a remaining budget of $1,300 dollars. This budget comes from fundraisers that the Residence Hall Association holds throughout the year.

The Residence Hall Association funded six student organizations last semester and has provided funding for two student organizations so far this semester, Wilner said. Any student organization on campus can appeal for this funding at a Residence Hall Association meeting.

Active Minds, the college’s chapter of a national organization that promotes student-run mental health advocacy, outreach and education, received SGC allocation funds for the spring semester, but still requires additional funding, Active Minds Co-President Zoe Howland said. Active Minds usually relies on SGC allocation funding for its largest events and programs, and also regularly holds fundraisers each semester, but will be looking for additional sources of funding as a result of the SGC’s exhaustion of allocation funds, Howland said.

Other options of supplemental funding available for Active Minds, since they are part of a national organization, may not be viable possibilities for less-established student organizations and could potentially stunt the growth of newer clubs, Howland said.

“Fortunately, Active Minds was able to find funding from other sources, so fingers crossed, we should be able to get our event in March off the ground,” Howland said via email. “But we are also an established organization with community ties and a network of potential funding resources. I am worried for smaller organizations who are just starting out and their ability to host events to grow their organization, because receiving funding is a huge part of being able to do that.”

Other clubs, such as the Humans vs. Zombies Social Club, also rely on the Appropriations Committee for funding, specifically for their annual participation in Penn State’s Humans vs. Zombies tournament, President Eli Weisenfeld said.

“It’s a bump in the road for every club, and for some, it’s a larger bump than others,” he said.

The Appropriations Committee may receive the leftover funds from organizations that did not utilize all of the money they requested in their budgets, Picca said. Every organization has 30 days after their respective event to return money that is leftover, and the Appropriations Committee will determine at that point how they will proceed with the funds.

The Appropriations Committee will continue to meet this semester to work on clarifying the Allocations Handbook so that applying for funds will be easier for student organizations, Picca said during the SGC meeting Feb. 12.

Laura O'Brien can be reached at lobrien3@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @L_OBrien3