On Sunday March 3, 2019, a revised Student Government Association (SGA) budget policy was proposed to and approved by the student senate. The new changes made to the budget policy were implemented by Divine Tanamal, a junior with a double major in economics and marketing and SGA treasurer.
Three major changes have been made to the policy: a decrease in the maximum budget increase, the prerequisite to spend at least 80 percent of SGA-allocated budget by April 1st — unless otherwise excused by the SGA treasuret — and the role of the Accountant Manager, a new addition to the Finance Committee.
Ronald Babiak, a sophomore majoring in finance and economics and the Finance Committee Chair of SGA, stood alongside Tanamal during her efforts to construct and carry out the revisions made to the policy. He explained that the reason behind altering the budget policy was to, “ensure that the funding provided to SGA from Seton Hall University was being utilized by student organizations.”
After comparing this year’s club spending on events to previous years, Tanamal realized that there is a significant decrease in club spending and that the lack of need for spending is a major factor in the allocated budgets going to waste.
To prevent future budgets from being wasted, the maximum budget increase that student organizations (recognized by SGA) would be able to obtain for the 2019-2020 academic year is now 10%. In comparison, last year’s budget policy afforded student organizations the opportunity of receiving a 20 percent increase in their budget allocation.
Another change that has been added to the revised budget policy is the enforcement for all student organizations to submit budget requests and spend at least 80 perecent of SGA-allocated budgets by April 1st, rather than having up until the end of the semester.
When asked what kind of issues may arise out of this dramatic change, Tanamal stated that she does not anticipate much conflict arising because exceptions can be made. She is aware that it is very likely that student and campus events will take place after the deadline, especially when the weather gets warmer.
Thus, budget requests can be submitted after the deadline and may be approved, but it is up to the discretion and judgement of the SGA Treasurer.
The final major change made to the budget policy is the new role for dedicated members of the Finance Committee, the Account Manager, which has also caused the removal of the Budget Finance Committee.
According to Babiak, the purpose of implementing this new position is to “establish relationships with treasurers of SGA-recognized student organizations and to provide them with their current account balances.”
Additionally, Tanamal implemented this new position to easily mediate advice to student organization members on how to effectively spend their SGA allocation. She hopes that student organizations will feel more inclined to seek out more information and help from the supplemental funding resources provided to them, particularly the Finance Committee, since they are underutilized by student organizations.
For example, if an organization’s budget is not substantial enough to cover the expenses of the event envisioned, the Finance Committee can help the organization, either through fundraising events or SGA loans. Another reason for the change was the asymmetric distribution of information regarding finances and financial resources to student organizations.
The Account Managers position is a way to prevent this from happening, as their job responsibilities include creating personalized quarterly reports for all organizations recognized by us, in addition to the various resources they may not even know exist.
After implementing these changes to the SGA budget policy, Tanamal hopes that it will encourage student organizations to not only increase club spending so that the allocated budget is not wasted, but also to push them to carry out more programming events compared to previous years.
The main goal of the revised policy is to help student organizations become more aware of the resources SGA and the University provide them so that they can utilize the resources provided to help their events succeed to the fullest.
More importantly, Tanamal adds that club events are what strengthens the communal bond between students, and hopes that an increase in events will continue to broaden the idea of inclusivity and unity throughout the campus life.
The budget changes go beyond SGA members, as it will impact the entire student body.
Alyssa Hawkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.