From the President’s Desk

By Guest Contributor

Welcome to the first edition of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) bi-weekly column, From the President’s Desk with SGA President Charlie Arnowitz ’13. In this column, we will be discussing issues of importance to the SGA and the student body. This week I am joined by SGA Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair Peter Mattson ’14 to talk about the Student Activities Fee, our financial situation and funding for student organizations.

The SGA is responsible for allocating money to the nearly 175 organizations on campus, from the African American Alliance to the Youthful Alliance for Merrymaking, in the form of annual budgets, new money requests and loans. Generally, student organizations have enjoyed tremendous financial support from the SGA. In addition to funding student organizations, we also fund our own initiatives that serve the student body. Last year, the SGA passed a series of exciting initiatives that made a significant impact on the College’s student life, including a dramatic expansion of the MiddView and the YouPower bike room.

All of this good work is funded by the Student Activity Fee, the $380 that every student pays in addition to the Comprehensive Fee. Collectively, the sum of these fees makes up the SGA budget. The SGA Finance Committee budgets all of these funds to student organizations each spring.  If student organizations do not spend the entirety of their budgets, those funds come back to the SGA as reserves. If the SGA chooses, these reserves can be spent on projects like the ones mentioned above.

As a result of the SGA’s allocation of generous budgets to student organizations and legislative agendas over the past two years, the Student Government Reserve Fund fell from $413,000 in the fall of 2011 to $121,000 today. Demand for funding is booming like never before and this year will likely bring a further drop in the reserves.

These reserve levels are problematically low. Good financial practices dictate that we keep a small amount of liquid capital on hand for emergencies, and in such cases the SGA is committed to ensuring we can adequately serve student organizations.

We have a new financial situation and therefore ask for your patience. Student organizations should keep a few guiding principles in mind when they approach financial planning for the coming year. Plan ahead — programs planned far in advance that attract students will likely receive more funding. Spend responsibly, and keep your spending focused on the mission of your organization. Collaborate with other clubs to take advantage of shared resources. If the College Democrats and Republicans can plan a successful election night at the Grille together, then we know valuable collaboration between other groups on this campus is also possible.

Planning well, spending responsibly and collaborating are key ways to help program effectively for the year, but it’s also important to realize that funding will be tight. Nonetheless, we are fully dedicated to ensuring that student organizations have adequate resources to fund creative and effective student ideas, initiatives and programming.

If learning more about the SGA interests you, come to our open Senate meetings at 7 p.m. on Sundays in the Crest Room, and check us out at go/sga, on Facebook and on Twitter.