Club budget cuts implemented for the upcoming school year by the Student Government Association (SGA) are hurting some, but helping others.
The president of Mock Trial, Luke Madden, a senior majoring in political science and economics, said in an email interview that the club usually receives a little less than $8,000 a year for funding from the SGA. However, the new SGA budget formula has cut this amount down to less than $4,000.
SGA’s funding for Mock Trial goes towards registering, traveling and lodging for tournaments, according to Madden. The club is looking to advance to the championship as well, with a calculated cost of $8,309.09 to reach this goal.
“I am afraid for the future of this club, not because of how the team will perform, but because we will have to cut some tournaments in the fall semester that we attend annually,” Madden said.
While nothing has been officially cut, Madden said it may become reality. He added that the club will be affected tremendously and that, “Ironically, the decrease in funding has come after one of the most successful seasons that Seton Hall Mock Trial has had in recent years.”
“The only way to cut back on our budget is to cut back on the tournaments we attend next year. It is a dangerous and slippery slope for this team because I do not believe that we can perform at our full potential and represent Seton Hall properly without these tournaments,” Madden said.
Alyssa Potenzone, SGA Treasurer and a sophomore accounting major, said in an email interview that the budget formula is 50 percent of spending and 10 percent of fundraising. Apparel charges were not counted toward spending and half of transportation was counted, which means clubs will receive one-fourth of what they spent on transportation. Transfers and donations between clubs count as spending for the club giving money and as fundraising for the club receiving money, so not to double-count spending, Potenzone added.
“Those clubs that did not choose to fundraise or seek additional funding from Finance Committee suffered,” Potenzone said.
The extra money SGA did not allot to clubs is going into the Fall and Spring Finance Committee budget and clubs can request funds from the Committee, Potenzone said. She added that as of April’s tentative budgets, the Finance Committee’s budget was around $10,000 greater than the previous year.
Clubs unsatisfied with their budgets are encouraged to fundraise, request funds from Finance Committee and seek departmental funding, Potenzone said.
Madden said Mock Trial has not done much fundraising but has come up with the idea of contacting local law firms and seeing if they will support the club. “I have no problem with fundraising, but that takes away from the time we need to prepare as well,” Madden said.
Teagan Sebba, a senior majoring in political science and the President of SGA for two consecutive years, said in an email interview that in her years as president, about five new clubs have been welcomed each semester through the Student Organization Advisory Committee process. However, while the numbers of clubs and admitted students increases, the amount of money SGA receives from SHU to allocate to clubs has stayed the same, Sebba said.
This budget formula was put in place by the previous Treasurer and previous Finance Committee chair, according to Sebba. “I know a lot of people were mad at their budget allocations and even took some of that anger out towards SGA but I’m here to assure them that no one was personally targeted, unappreciated or granted an amount that can’t be sufficient with the aid of Finance Committee,” Sebba added.
Potenzone said that some clubs benefitted from the budget and some suffered.
She added that the budget formula was made known to clubs early on so that they were prepared.
SGA is not allocating clubs less funds, but dealing with the same amount of a budget to divide among more clubs, according to Sebba.
“I understand how unfair this might seem when you’re the President of a club who received less than expected, I would be frustrated too, but when it comes down to it, it’s just the numbers,” Sebba said.
Samantha Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.