UNC Charlotte’s Student Government Association (SGA) has recently had to look into stretching their 2014-2015 fiscal year budget.
The budget is given to SGA’s Organizational Ways and Means Committee each year by Student Activities Fees Commission (SAFC), who allocates yearly budgets for many other on-campus organizations, such as the Campus Activities Board.
SGA uses these funds each year to distribute money to different student organizations, so that they can participate in activities such as conferences, retreats, competitions and fundraising events.
This year, SAFC allocated a total of $204,484 to SGA. Jared Dobbertin, Chairman of the Organizational Ways and Means Committee for SGA noted that although SGA does still have money left in their budget, the funds are decreasing faster than normal due to growth in the university.
“I think that the growth that our University has experienced has definitely affected the number of grant requests we’ve approved so far, said Dobbertin.
“We approve almost one new student org every week, and that’s just one other organization that is entitled to their portion of our budget. In the future, I’d love to see SGA receive a larger budget as we continue to grow.”
Student organizations have knowledge on roughly how much money SGA is allocated each year, and still continue to ask for certain frivolous things through grants, according to Dobbertin.
“This year, groups were just very aware of the budget that SGA offers and submitted lots of grant requests,” said Dobbertin.
In order to stretch the budget to make it last for the entire fiscal year, SGA plans to only approve student organization requests that meet a certain standard. They will only be approving and funding conferences and competitions.
SGA generally receives the largest number of grant requests from student organizations during the months of March and April. For that reason, they know that they need to save a great sum of their funds for that time of the fiscal year, rather than spend it during the first semester.
“We are not currently out of money for the year, but we are currently trying to stretch our budget for as long as we can,” said Dobbertin.
Dobbertin feels that the situation can only improve from its current condition, commenting, “The biggest set back that SGA will experience has already happened, unfortunately, in us not being able to fund events this semester and the first couple of weeks in January.”
SGA has similarly run out of funds in past years, although for different reasons.
Dobbertin noted that in the past, this likely occurred because SGA wasn’t following its procedures properly, which resulted in approving grants for student organizations that should not have been approved.
“The biggest changes my committee has changed in regards to what will be approved in the future is just clarifying what we would like to see travel requests to be used on,” said Dobbertin.
Travel requests are generally the most applied-for grant. These types of requests are used for student organizations who need help funding travel to any of the previously mentioned events, such as conferences, competitions and fundraisers.
Travel grants are usually anywhere from $500 to the maximum of $1,000 a student, depending on how many members of each individual organization plan on attending the event.
A record of all things SGA has approved for the 2014-2015 year thus far can be found at: http://studentorgs.uncc.edu/event-grants-approved.
SGA will not have any additional senate meetings for the remainder of the semester. Their first senate meeting for the spring 2015 semester will be held in mid Jan.