SGA aims for transparent budget

Allocations for clubs and student organizations to be posted online

by Chloe Salveson, staff writer
Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer
SGA’s Student Organizations Committee is responsible for determining how much funding each club receives. This year, in an effort to be more
transparent, the executive team and SOC have committed to posting the budget allocations on their website once they are passed by the Senate.

The Student Government Association’s (SGA) club and organization budgeting process has been slightly altered to increase transparency and accommodate the effects of COVID-19.

This year’s executive team — composed of President Michaele Townsend and Vice Presidents MaKayla Connors and Marina Salazar — vowed to make the budget process more transparent in the financial section of their platform.

“The Student Government will start posting the budget for clubs on our website to ensure we are staying transparent with not only administrations but students as well,” the campaign platform read. 

This promise came after allegations last fall that there was inequitable funding for minority-led clubs and organizations.

According to Connors, the SGA executives and Director of Finance Tom Grandon are currently meeting with the University Affiliated Organizations (UAOs) such as Alternative Breaks and X-treme Fans. Once these meetings conclude and the Senate passes the budgets for the UAOs, their budgets will be posted online by mid-March, making them available to the entire Xavier community. 

The same will be true for clubs, whose budgeting process begins in March with oversight from SGA’s Student Organizations Committee (SOC). 

“Overall, (the executives) and SOC have been striving towards making budgets more readable and accessible,” Sen. Madeline Anderson and SOC member said. “Once the budget is determined, we will make them all public through the site.”

Internal changes have also been made to the budget proposal process. 

Sen. David Reeves, another member of SOC, further explained how the process was simplified by eliminating certain forms and updating the club expenditure sheets. 

“(The clubs) now fill out what they did and their expenses from the former year, and now it is just so much smoother,” Reeves said.

“We also decided that if clubs were not going to ask for a certain amount of money, they could do a written explanation of why they want the funds,” he stated. “We’ve already had one club ask for funds that are under that limit, and it has just made the process so much easier for us,” he continued. 

In addition to these adjustments, student organizations and clubs will not be penalized if they spend less than 85% of their budgets, a rule which was enforced pre-pandemic.

The pandemic has also altered the budgeting process for many clubs.

Isabella Serna, the president of the Hispanic Organization and LatinX Awareness (HOLA), stated that the pandemic has restricted the club’s activities, which led to the struggle of spending their budget. More specifically, HOLA’s annual gala has been canceled, and the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute conference, typically held in Chicago, was virtual this year. 

“Those are the two biggest ways we spend our budget, so we’ve had to be really creative about how to do that,” she commented. “One thing we are working on this year is, since we’re not having a gala, we’re going to have an outdoor (event)… called the carne asada. It’s like a traditional Mexican barbeque.” 

Despite COVID-19’s impact on the use of the budget, HOLA’s student involvement has not diminished.

Serna said, “I would say that, from a numbers standpoint, we’ve actually been fine. We’ve been pretty consistent, if not actually continued to maintain our members or grow a little bit more, which has been really cool to see. I think people just want community and a space to go, and we provide that for the students who are interested.” 

Lauren Jacobs, president of Xavier’s American Marketing Association, also noted a shift due to the pandemic. Although there is a noticeable decrease in club involvement, Jacobs is motivated to continue engagement. 

“We were able to do a lot more events than we originally thought… compared to other clubs that would have more group activities to do,” Jacobs said.

The deadline for clubs to submit budget proposals is March 8. The SGA senate plans to vote on allocations the week of April 12-19.