Club budget proposals zoom along

SGA will proceed to a vote to conrm fund allocations to clubs for 2020-21

Above, students swarmed the yard at Club Day to learn about clubs offered at Xavier this fall. On Monday, the Student Organization Committee formally proposed the club budgets for the upcoming year, which will go to a Senate vote on Monday, April 20. The meeting will be open to the public.

Xavier’s Student Organization Committee (SOC) formally proposed the club budgets for 2020-21 school year during their virtual meeting on Monday. 

Senate adviser Dustin Lewis played a crucial role in the budget proposal due to unusual circumstances caused by COVID-19. During a traditional budget allocation season, SOC would conduct interviews with the leaders of each club that requested more than $2,000 in order to aid their decision-making process. 

However, 2020 has been far from a traditional year for the whole Xavier community following the administration’s decision to transition to a remote format for the remainder of the semester in response to COVID-19. 

“We believed that in order to execute the process fairly, efficiently and effectively, the SGA (Student Government Association) adviser would need to play a larger role in creating the rst draft of the budget,” Lewis said. 

“My role was to establish the first draft of the budget, which is the lengthiest part of the work,” Lewis said. After creating the first draft, Lewis then met with SOC for a meeting that lasted over an hour, giving explanations line by line about the reasoning behind each of his decisions. “(After our discussion,) the final budget that was proposed to the Senate contained some modifications that SOC suggested during our meeting.” 

Lewis noted that in his ten years at Xavier there has been no precedent for an adviser drafting the club budget proposal. “I can’t emphasize enough that this is an extraordinary semester and that this process is not the most ideal,” Lewis said. “It is a great learning process for the committee on SGA to meet with each of these clubs and I’m disappointed that we were not able to execute that happening this spring.” 

SOC began the interviewing process before spring break and was only able to conduct a few interviews before the transition to remote learning. Despite this, Lewis said that there was ample information for him to make the decisions. 

The information at his disposal included information BASELINE data from the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) for each club. That data indicates crucial information, such as how many active members there are in a club and how often they have meetings. 

In order to ensure COVID-19 did not have a massive impact on the budget allocation process, there were two main measures that SGA took in order to accommodate clubs. First, SGA waived the hard deadline by which clubs must submit budget proposals, which was originally March 6. Secondly, Lewis noted he was very careful when referring to the present year’s budgets and club spending. 

A number of large programs, such as galas and end of year events, were either cancelled or rescheduled for the fall, and because these large events were either cancelled or postponed, according to Lewis, it could lead the data to misrepresent a club’s spending pattern. 

SGA and the Office of Student Involvement have not yet made a decision about what will happen to money that goes unused by clubs this year due to cancellations. In addition to concerns about the budget allocations due to COVID-19, one other consideration Lewis had to entertain is that there was also a significant increase in the amount requested by clubs this year. 

There was a total of $441,507.82 requested from 111 student clubs, compared to last year where there was a total of $429,619.60 requested from 113 student clubs. Lewis and SOC had $258,000 to allocate to different clubs. 

This total, however, does not include University Affiliated Organizations, such as Club Sports, Student Activities Council or Alternative Breaks. These organizations had their funding approved in the prior SGA meeting. 

SGA will vote on the proposed club budgets on Monday, April 20, as there is no meeting next week due to Easter break.