Clubs Weather Fall Budget Allocation Process


USG VP of FInance, Daniel Stroie, leads the budget committee. Matthew Moore/ The Fordham Ram.

By Joe Vitale

Last April, at the tail end of one of the most attended Student Life Council meetings of the year, United Student Government’s Budget Committee, chaired by Daniel Stroie, released its recommendations for the allocations for this semester.

The semester budget, recommended by Budget Committee’s chair and eight student members, was swiftly approved, allocating $444,000 to various clubs and organizations across campus.

Overall, 77 clubs requested more than $531,000 (up from $470,000 from the prior semester), according to final budget allocation documents published on the committee’s website.

The vast majority of clubs fared well in the process. Thirty clubs received 100 percent of their requested funding, while 30 more clubs received at least 90 percent of requested funds.

Only a handful of clubs received zero percent of total allocations, for reasons detailed in official Budget Committee documents. This list of unsuccessful clubs includes Academia Hispania (which requested $6,867), Economics Society ($200), Fordham Flava ($2,069), Inseieme Italian Cultural Society ($1,299), Pet Advocacy for Underprivileged Survivors ($1,350) and Images ($220).

Several clubs received sanctions as well, though most were under five percent. Active Minds, a new club on campus, received a sanction of 15 percent and Polish Cultural Exchange received a sanction of nine percent. Deutscher Studenten Club and Students for Fair Trade both received sanctions of 7.5 percent.

Budget Committee detailed several reasons for sanctioning in the committee’s presentation. For example, eight clubs were sanctioned for not submitting an operations packet and 19 clubs were sanctioned for not providing backup documentation for specific line items.

The funds the committee was able to allocate drew from the Student Activities Fee, a $135 fee that every student pays.

To arrive at the amount of total requests, the committee multiplied the fee by the number of students who contribute to the fund (around 5,500,) yielding $742,500.

From the start, 30 percent of that number was allotted to the Office of Student Involvement. Then, money was taken off for club copy cards ($2,340 this semester), club sports ($33,000), senior week ($15,000) and other costs to the Office of Student Involvement ($8,000).
From there, the Committee had $460,000 to allocate.

Before general club requests were yielded, nearly 68 percent of funds went directly to referendum clubs, which are clubs that have a consistent need for funds each semester and have “proven responsible with their allocated funding.”

This semester, $296,285 went to Rose Hill’s ten referendum clubs.

The committee allocated $174,000 to Campus Activities Board, which programs’ events such as Spring Weekend and Welcome Week.

Other referendum clubs include Fordham University Emergency Medical Services ($25,000) Global Outreach ($16,110), Mimes and Mummers ($15,000) and Peer Educators ($20,000). The newest referendum club, Fordham Experimental Theatre, received $3,615.

USG, also a referendum club, received three percent of the funds allocated to referendum clubs, receiving $8,000.

Of the total allocation of funds to general clubs that do not have referendum status, The Fordham Ram, College Democrats and Mock Trial received the largest allocation amounts.

The Ram received $20,000, and College Democrats received $20,826 in funding (College Republicans received 85 percent of its requested, receiving $3,347.)

Specific breakdowns of individual club requests were detailed in a document posted on USG’s website, which shows the line-by-line approval and denial of funds. The committee also detailed reasons for event denials.

Eleven clubs, for example, were denied appeals because the event “demonstrated exclusivity.” This reason was cited mostly for club gear, including items like t-shirts. Computing Science Society, Fordham Fanatics and Fordham Marketing Association were all denied certain lines items such as pins, business cards, t-shirts and stress balls because they “demonstrated exclusivity.”

According to the committee’s handbook, which details rules on prizes, university speakers, outside speakers, food and refreshments and bake sales, the committee “may only fund t-shirts or other appear for sales, fundraisers, costumers or cause awareness campaigns. Clubs must explain the purpose of the t-shirts in their requests.”

Budget Committee, which allows for appeals and votes on new requests weekly, began the fall semester with a remainder of $27,000. Several clubs — including Smart Woman Securities and Muslim Students Association — have already requested and been approved additional funds following formal appeals, according to the committee’s records.

Grito de Lareas, which requested $12,000 for the Latino Heritage Month Kick Off Dinner at the committee’s first meeting on Sept. 2, received the full amount following an unanimous vote by the committee.

With the remaining funds, Budget committee currently has more than $8,000 to allocate for the fall semester.

Rollover from last semester’s allocations will be added when the final amount is confirmed.
The Committee meets next on Sept. 16 at 2:30 in Bepler Commons, and on Sept. 23 at 2:30 in McGinley 234.