For many Georgetown student organizations, the Council of Advisory Boards is synonymous with funding. In reality, CAB, which mediates dialogue between the six undergraduate advisory boards, is not directly involved in the allocation of funds. That being said, much of the recent dialogue mediated by CAB between the different undergraduate advisory boards has concerned the weakness of the 2016 Finance and Appropriations budget, which allocates funding to the advisory boards, and how it has negatively affected them. These effects have been felt by members of Georgetown’s student organizations, who rarely find student-group funding sufficient.
The Fin/App Committee is composed of elected members of the Georgetown University Student Association senate who serve as liaisons between Fin/App and a single advisory board. Often, Fin/App funding decisions are made with lack of understanding. The current process is inadequate; student club funding must be reorganized.
For one, student groups could launch their own initiatives by appealing to their own alumni for funds. Organization-specific fundraising campaigns would allow Georgetown alumni to personalize their contributions to the university while eschewing the oft-cited headache of bureaucratic courtship for group leaders. Drawing investment from former members would strengthen a group’s alumni network, instilling current members with a deeper sense of tradition and continuity. While this is currently possible, the advisory boards should more actively encourage student groups to embark on these campaigns in lieu of traditional funding.
In addition to creating a new source of funding, the existing system should be reformed. A tenable option, and one that may supplement the recommendation above, is to fulfill the campaign goal of many GUSA candidates and expand the allocation of tuition expenses to the student activities fee. This fee is currently the main source of funding for student groups. Set against Georgetown’s undergraduate tuition, such a reallocation would be negligible — perhaps $50 per student would be sufficient. Yet, given the invaluable role that extracurricular activities play in the lives of so many Georgetown students, a small adjustment would produce tremendous results.
Student-group funding allocation needs reorganization. Whether this involves organization-specific fundraising campaigns to complement Fin/App’s governance or a fee increase, the student activities fee is up to students. But for the sake of Georgetown’s student groups, a more effective budgetary system must be a priority.
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