Student Activity Funding Decreases
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 02:12
The Student Activities Commission announced Monday that it would allocate $172,000 in funding for spring semester, fulfilling 66.9 percent of all funding requests.
Though this figure is the highest amount of funding ever allocated by SAC, it represents the lowest percentage of requests ever fulfilled, resulting in reduced funding for recipient groups.
SAC Chair Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14) attributed the increase in requested funds and subsequent inability to fund these requests to SAC’s recent encouragement of big projects.
“We always encourage groups to be ambitious with programming because the more ambitious the programs are, the greater they can be,” Appelbaum said. “The only issue is that ambitious programs are also more expensive.”
SAC budgeted 45 percent of available funds for the fall, with the remaining 55 percent left for spring to adjust for an expected increase in funding requests, since the spring semester historically has more programming because of a spike in celebrations and balls during that period.
Appelbaum added that many groups requested funding for spring conferences this year.
“We’re pleased to be able to support these conferences, but they are very expensive,” Appelbaum said.
In order to determine funding for each group, SAC scales down groups’ budgets based on the SAC budget guide. The remaining budget total is then compared to how much funding is available.
“Groups submit a budget to us, then we review it line by line to see what we can allocate based on a budget guide. We try to keep the process as objective as possible,” Appelbaum said. “The total funding requested was higher than the available funds, so we had to scale down budgets across the board evenly to get the amount we allocate down to the funds available.”
Former College Democrats President Joseph Vandegriff (COL ’14) expressed concern that the funding cut will make it harder for clubs to fund events with rigid costs.
“If we’re talking about a movie watch, it’s a simple matter of ordering less pizza,” Vandegriff said. “But for events such as renting out a place or paying a speaker to come, where you need a definite amount of money, [the cut] makes your life harder. It’s going to take a lot of creativity on everybody’s part.”
Nevertheless, according to Vandegriff many of College Democrats’ speakers are elected officials, who cannot legally charge for a public appearance.
“It’s really paying for spaces, tables, chairs and other things we need that is going to be tough,” Vandegriff said.
International Relations Club Chair Emilie Siegler (SFS ’14) agreed and pointed to the fact that most IRC costs are food related.
“I think the funding cuts [for food] are understandable because sometimes we do order more than we actually need,” Siegler said. “It makes us think, ‘how much do we actually need for the people who are going to come’? Maybe instead of ordering 10 pies, we order five pies.”
Siegler said that the IRC was prepared for some sort of cut, though perhaps not as large as SAC announced.
“The funding for food and small events primarily comes from SAC,” Siegler said. “But for larger events such as renting out [Copley Hall] for a speaker event, we look to organizations like the [Georgetown University Student Association] and the [Georgetown University Lecture Fund] as possible sources of funding. We have a very strong programming schedule and everyone on campus benefits, so I think that people really understand and help us out.”
Vandegriff said that he hoped SAC would be able to fund a higher percentage of group requests in coming semesters.
“I know it’s hard to find a system that works for everybody,” Vandegriff said. “I hope SAC can find a way to stop the downward spiral we’ve seen in the percentages.”