Vox‘s guide to GUSA’s club funding overhaul
GUSA’s quest to completely restructure the funding of student activities at Georgetown can get a little confusing, so Vox has whipped up a guide to the motivations for and alleged effects of GUSA’s activities.
Above are the responses to the survey GUSA Senators have cited as part of their evidence for the need for club funding reform. Below, representatives of three of the six boards brief us on the ways they feel GUSA’s efforts could affect their boards and provide
Simplistically, GUSA’s efforts to revamp club funding are twofold: there’s the legislation to create the GUSA Fund sing $30,000 of the $51,412 that the six different funding boards have in their reserves Funding Board, made up of representatives of the six different funding boards, has in its reserves, which all six funding boards have balked at, and then there’s legislation to withhold the student activity fees we pay that fund the six boards if the boards did not achieve six reforms.
The graphs above show the results of the survey which GUSA Senators cited at a recent meeting when they talked about why the funding boards need an overhaul. By and large, they say, funding processes have become too bureaucratic. The survey went to over 100 clubs and 41 clubs have responded so far (no one from the Performing Arts Advisory Council or the Georgetown Programming Board has responded yet), according to Greg Laverriere (COL ’12—Henle 49-96).
Club members gave the Student Activities Commission the lowest score for its funding process and advice and the highest score for the difficulty of obtaining funding, but the Center for Social Justice was not far behind in two cases.
After the jump, see what members of three funding boards had to say about the effects of GUSA’s legislation!
Here’s how the members of three funding boards have to say about the proposed changes (GPB and the Performing Arts Advisory Council did not respond):
Club Sports (responses by Nick Calta (COL ’10))
The Advisory Board for Club Sports allocates funding to club sports, which we define as teams whose primary objective is to compete in intercollegiate club competition. We allocate funding in two basic ways: a yearly budget and nationals funding. Budgets include significant fund raising goals that each team must meet (generally only about 30% of expenses are covered because we just don’t have the money to do any more).
Trips to national championship tournaments are not included in this budget because most teams have to qualify in order to go to nationals. (It probably sounds like sour grapes coming from me, but I would really like to know the GUSA rationale behind voting against our request for $7000 to help send some teams to nationals.)
While I’m sure we can do better and there is definitely improvements we can make as an advisory board, I think most club sports have an overall positive experience with us.
I’m not entirely sure how the GUSA legislation would impact our board, but I can’t imagine it having a substantial positive impact. Advisory boards have a better idea of what they need to do to be financially responsible than GUSA does. I worry … that many of the GUSA proposals are made specifically with SAC in mind and that nobody really thinks of how they would affect the other advisory boards—at the Funding Board meeting earlier it was pretty clear that a few of the proposals made had absolutely no research behind them.
SAC (responses by Harrison Holcomb (NHS ’11))
SAC is a catch-all for groups that don’t fit under other advisory boards. At present we have 86 total groups.
SAC allocates the majority of its money on a by-event basis, however, we do issue each group a $190 standard operating budget to every group. We also hold a budget allocation meeting each spring where groups can propose events for the upcoming year, however, typically only space costs are allocated at that meeting since food prices, [space] rental prices, etc. are subject to change from year to year.
In general, most our groups seem satisfied. There are always challenges, and certainly some groups like us less than others, however, I think that the majority of SAC groups are reasonably cotent with our processes. We are always working to improve communication with groups and streamline the process. Toward this end, we hope to hold more open house events in the spring, in conjunction with presenting our annual report. We are also actively exploring options to streamline the process for approving lecture events with the lecture fund.
The current GUSA resolution could have considerable negative effects on SACs ability to provide operational support to groups. However, SAC and GUSA will continue to discuss the resolution, to achieve a solution that will ensure SAC is able to continue to fund at its current levels, and improve the efficiency of the funding system.
The Center for Social Justice (responses by Donna Harati (SFS ’10))
We allocate funding to social-justice related groups on campus. Right now, 44 groups are work through CSJ ABSO. CSJ ABSO allocates funding and approves activities both annually and by event. Our advisors work with our student group leaders to create an annual budget that encompasses all of a group’s intended activities for the coming fiscal year. If a group later devises an activity that was not included in their original budget, the board works with them in order to support (with funding, if appropriate) and approve the activity.
Our advisors are expected to always be available to meet with their student groups and to provide any necessary guidance or assistance. Our advisors act as advocates for their groups and strive to ensure that our groups are operating at their fullest potential. I was able to advise STAND for two years, and we worked very closely together to ensure that their fundraisers would produce a substantial profit. I always enjoyed meeting with STAND’s leadership and discussing their ideas, and I think that is very typical of advisor/student group relationships at ABSO.
We have not had the opportunity to discuss the legislation directly with GUSA, and we hope that we will now have a chance to foster dialogue among all members of the Funding Board. I hope that GUSA will be able to learn more about how each of the advisory boards operates. Each board works differently and there is not one, single approach to all of the advisory boards.
Media Board (responses provided by Alex Pon (COL ’12))
We fund media-related clubs, such as student-run publications and media services, such as GUTV and WGTB.
Groups request funding at the end of each academic year for the following year by presenting a budget that is approved by the Media Board.
Media Board rarely denies funding, and if so, usually only does so in a request for more information. Our groups generally have a positive experience with Media Board.
Editor’s note: Alex Pon is a member of the Voice but is not involved with the development of editorial content. His response is meant to provide information about the Media Board while Vox seeks input from other Media Board members about how they feel the changes would affect it.
Survey results and graphs courtesy GUSA Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12—LXR)