As the new year rolls around, the Office of Student Activities and Orientation (OSAO) and Student Government Association (SGA) have expedited the club budgeting process by implementing weekly Finance Committee Meetings.
These changes were made after Coordinator of Student Activities and Orientation Nathan Kozach noticed the difficulties that clubs were facing while trying to organize funding for their programs. He spoke with clubs and SGA members, along with other local colleges to create a new system for budget requests.
Throughout this process, Kozach collaborated with students and asked for their input. “It wasn't me just saying, ‘This is how I want it to be and this is how it's going to be’,” Kozach said. “I definitely want students to be involved in the process. And this particular way of doing things does involve students more than previously.”
The new process replaces the old structure where clubs presented a budget packet to the Finance Committee at the beginning of the semester detailing every purchase request for their programs. The committee would then review the packets and give each club a set amount of money for that semester.
Under the old system, some clubs did not spend all the money they were given, while others did not have enough money to do all the programming they hoped.
With this system, all the money OSAO is given for clubs and organizations remains in one place, and clubs have the opportunity to make purchase requests as needed. If the request is less than $50, Kozach reviews and approves the request.
Any higher amount will be reviewed by SGA’s Finance Committee at one of their weekly meetings. This committee is made up of Vice President of Financial Affairs Michael Palumbo, as well as three other SGA representatives. They discuss the purchase request and make the decision to approve or deny it.
According to Palumbo, this new system creates a quicker turnaround for processing budget requests.
“In past years, we would take a whole weekend that was dedicated towards budget proposals and that was a horrible process,” Palumbo said. “It's eight-hour days back to back, you're sitting there and listening to Zoom meetings. It's super boring, nobody wants to do it.”
Palumbo said now the process is “a lot easier.” Clubs can send their proposals when they need them and there is a running total for funding.
“Right now, we're pacing pretty well for the semester in terms of how much money we have for clubs available,” Palumbo said.
Kozach also said this process has improved the way that clubs receive their funding, as well as student involvement as a whole.
“Now we have a better weekly check-in of what's going on, which is better for the students,” Kozach said. “The students are making a lot more of those decisions on behalf of their fellow students, which is really what we should be doing in the first place.”
Senior Madison Reynolds, President of She’s the First, said that she also believes that these changes are an improvement from the previous process.
“Last year, our president would go over everything we had to submit at the beginning of the semester, and now this is a lot easier,” Reynolds said. “ We have ideas, of course, but it’s a little easier to plan things out when you’re actually needing to plan them.”
The Finance Committee meets weekly on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. to discuss purchase requests that clubs submit. In order to be reviewed, purchase requests need to be submitted by 4:00 p.m. the Tuesday before the meeting.