Student Government Association funds 57 percent of student requests

The Student Government Association, formerly known as the Association of Student Representatives, ended funding requests for this semester. This semester there was a 33 percent increase in the amount of funding requests compared to last year. 80 funding requests were proposed and 57 were either fully or partially funded.

The largest funding request that was not issued to a Big Six organization was granted for Model UN with $4,000, allocated for travel costs. Another large funding request approval granted $1,400 to TUFit. Additionally, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee asked for $5,400 in funding but received only  $2,700.

Because of low student enrollment, SGA has less money allocated from the student activity fee than they have had in past years.

“This fall we did, however, have a significantly decreased student activity fee or decreased allocation from the student activity fee,” said Evan Lewis, newly elected SGA president.

Money allocated to groups goes toward food, equipment or anything that is seen as essential to the event. The Filipino Student Association proposed a funding request in which everything but benches for a cultural dance was funded for Mabuhay.

“They funded everything that was essential. We would like to have our benches because there is a really interesting cultural dance that we need the benches for,” said Tess Macapinlac, sophomore and FSA member. “In terms of ASR funding, they have always been very reasonable in discussing and hearing us out time and again.”

The Prowlers, an 18-member dance team, received $6,610.00 from SGA last year for new unifroms. This year they submitted a request that was only partially funded.

“We were hoping to get uniform shoes. We have these uniforms that ASR generously provided last year, and that has been really helpful to us in a new sense of purpose with this new image. With that, not having shoes to go with that has been a struggle,” said Helene Nepomuceno, senior and Prowlers captain.

Lewis stated the shoes would be difficult to fund because they are considered more of a personal item.

According to Nepomuceno, the Prowlers received  funding from the athletic department before they were removed from it in 2011. Now they rely on SGA for funding.

“Our biggest problem since then has been where to find funding,” Nepomuceno said

According to Lewis, funding is $30,000 lower this year than last year. Some funding requests that were not time-sensitive or that involved events for next semester were tabled until the spring.

“As we got towards the deadline this year, we had a limited amount of money to spend, so we decided that those events that could be looked at next semester would be looked at then,” Lewis said.

Time-sensitive funding proposals do not typically take priority over proposals that are not.

“For the most part, it’s a first-come, first-served basis. It wouldn’t be fair to a group that planned their event out six weeks in advance and came to us with a funding request to get bumped aside by a group that is submitting a funding request for a large event next week,” Lewis said.

To keep spending levels the same, SGA has been using the reserve accounts that consist of money left over by previous SGAs and money that is given back by groups that did not use all the money allocated to them.

“We have been using it as a rainy day fund. We are hoping this decrease in enrollment is temporary, so we are trying to keep spending levels at about the same. Because if it is a temporary thing, then we can spend money and recoup that later instead of just cutting groups off. We want there to be good events going on campus,” Lewis said.

Even with low enrollment, SGA looks to spend the same amount they had spent in the previous semester.

“We are looking to spend on track with what we had last semester. I would just invite student groups to send proposals as early as they can, because we have had five proposals, six proposals and fifteen proposals. Obviously when you are competing at the end of the semester for the last $5,000 then your proposal is going to have an unusual amount of scrutiny placed on it,” Lewis said.