As the Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board continues to manage and facilitate the many clubs and organizations at Wheaton College during the 2012-2013 academic year, a new buzz can be heard regarding proposed changes to the club budgeting system, scheduled to take effect this coming fall.
The change calls for an adjustment to the current process through which clubs and organizations must go in order to receive funding for events and regular club costs. Under the current system, the treasurer of a club must separately submit a budget proposal and apply to several different funds in order to secure money for a club budget or related event. This is a complicated process that takes not only time but also careful management, as mistakes can easily be made regarding how much money a group receives versus what it originally requested.
Because there are several different groups providing the funding, “it is really difficult to know across the board what everyone else is doing,” said Lindsay Powell ’13, SGA President. “What we [are aiming] to do next year is streamline and standardize the process so that it’s essentially one application”.
With the new system, clubs will receive an initial $300, but will have access to one student activities fund (which will have a larger pool of money) to which they can apply for an essentially unlimited amount of additional funding. This way SGA has leveled the playing field for club budgets, instead of the current system of using an auditory process to allocate a certain amount of funding to each club for the given academic year.
Clubs will fill out one simple application providing detailed information on exactly what they need for a given event, which will either be approved in full within a week, or given back the day after it is is received with recommendations on possible changes to assure approval and full funding.
“With these applications, students will know what they’re being adjudicated on, and what it takes to pass . . . they can adjust their applications accordingly,” said Joseph Campbell ’14, SGA Treasurer.
The new system will be an “all-or-nothing” system, so students can be sure they will receive full funding upon approval and no longer need to worry about only receiving partial funding, a large problem in the past.
“Last year there were a lot of calls for transparency within the budgeting system; ultimately that’s what we’ve done,” said Campbell. “We’ve basically said to the students, ‘This is your money, come and spend it.’”
Under this system, students will have opportunities to put on more events and better events than ever before, while simultaneously saving money that is often lost in the current system, when clubs do not use all of their funding. In the past, roughly $15,000-16,000 has been put back into holding every year, “and that’s money most of us never see again,” said Campbell.
The original budgeting system will not change for certain organizations that have year-round costs that cannot be adjudicated outside the fiscal year, such as The Wheaton Wire, the Yearbook committee and WCCS Radio. The process, though, will be much easier for these groups as there will be fewer clubs that will be evaluated in this manner.
Athletic clubs, such as men’s and women’s rugby, will also have a different system of budgeting, under which they will apply for funding through a separate pool managed by the Director of Club and Intramural Sports, Stephen Angelo.
SGA has already begun meeting with many clubs and organizations on campus to discuss the changes. For those that wish to find out more, the Executive Board urges club leaders and treasurers to attend one of two informational sessions to be held in Watson 102 on Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17 at 5 p.m.
“The whole goal of this change was for more programming, for more student involvement and for a better sense of community,” said Campbell.
This coming year, we will see just how it turns out.