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Students work with group to decide funding

Students may have a hard time managing their own budgets for their home expenses, but imagine being in charge of budgeting over 300 different student organizations.

The Student Budget Committee meets for two full weekends every spring to decide how much funding each student organization will receive for the upcoming year. The committee is made up of nine students and two co-chairs, as well as an administrative advisor.

“The Student Budget Committee is charted with listening to proposals for funding for the upcoming academic year,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Jill Carr. “They have to listen and decide how much each organization gets next year.”

One of the co-chairs Reece Timbrook said that the committee handled $420,000 to delegate to the different organizations this past spring.

Organizations can come in during the two weekends and present for 10 minutes. During that time, students tell the committee how much they would like to be funded for the next year and explain why.

“It’s very stressful,” Timbrook said.

He said this past spring, the different organizations asked the committee for over $1.5 million in funding.

“It’s OK though because we have an established list that can help us delegate money,” he said. “The list has things we aren’t allow to fund from the University.”

Even so, they had accidentally over-allocated money by $100,000 and had to go back and cut more money to make their budget.

“It was extremely difficult to cut and be fair,” he said.

After they finish their meetings, the committee forwards their recommendations to the Office of Campus Activities and Dean of Students to approve.

“They take the recommendations very seriously, but the final decision is with the Dean,” Carr said.

They also have bi-weekly “spot funding” meetings, where organizations can ask for funding for things like a specific event coming up.

“The spot funding is easier,” Timbrook said. “Most the groups know the rules and what is required, which is really good and helpful.”

Timbrook said it’s important that students are in charge of allocating the money to the organizations instead of administration.

“The money comes from the general fees students pay,” he said. “So it only makes sense students should control the money. It’s easier for administrators to lose sight of what students want. We see campus from the same angle.”

Carr also agrees it’s better to have students involved.

“It’s absolutely wonderful for students to be involved with the allocation of student money,” she said.

He also understands that the committee can’t make everyone happy.

“There are times when we don’t have enough to fund even if we want to,” he said.

Also, if students feel unhappy with the decision, they can submit an appeal.

Carr and Timbrook stressed that every organization is given the same opportunity for funding through the proposal process.

“That’s my job,” Timbrook said. “To make sure everything that happens is fair.”

Timbrook said the Student Budget Committee has received the same funding three years in a row.

“Student organizations are growing faster than what we can give them,” he said. “They can meet all the rules and requirements and we want to fund them but we can’t do it because we don’t have the money.”

He said it is hard because most students in the committee are also in organizations, so they understand the frustrations of not getting the funding they want.

In order to be apart of the committee, students have to apply through the Office of Campus Activities.

“I wish more people were aware of the committee and tried to apply,” Timbrook said.

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