By Katy Shenk
Elm Staff Writer
Submitting and approving budgets is a complex process, but Washington College’s Student Government Association is working to help it run as smoothly as possible.
Junior Myssa Abusin, financial controller of SGA, is in charge of overseeing the budget submission and approval for all clubs and organizations at the College. Abusin makes sure club requests adhere to “school policy as well as SGA policies we have created,” she said.
SGA first receives a fixed dollar amount from the school as part of their budget, a certain percentage of which goes to funding club budgets, according to Abusin. SGA then determines how to allocate their resources among six club categories: Greek organizations, service clubs, club sports, social interest groups, and culture/religious groups.
“With over 100 recognized clubs on campus, we realize that not every club is the same, therefore should not be treated the same,” according to the SGA website.
Abusin confirmed this approach. For example, clubs like the Equestrian Team have special contracts with the SGA to negotiate their considerable budgets.
Based off of last year’s numbers, SGA introduced a new method of budget submission for the upcoming spring semester. Instead of submitting a paper form, clubs use an online Qualtrics survey to request money for club-specific events, equipment, and/or conferences.
“I think that the switch to Qualtrics has streamlined the process by a great deal,” said Trae Hoffner, co-president of the Club Soccer Team. “It helps the SGA get organized because they can review the budget before the budget meeting.”
Abusin offered two time slots to allow club presidents or treasurers to meet their mandatory budget workshop requirement. The session offered a tutorial for submitting the survey and allowed attendees to ask questions.
“We [SGA] want to be very transparent,” Abusin said.
Previously, Abusin and the Budget Committee would review each budget and meet with every club to discuss any changes. Now, they only meet with clubs requesting over $1,500 or more than 10 events, or by request of the club.
These limits are based off of last year’s budget data and communication with the College’s Business Office.
According to Abusin, it was time consuming for herself and the Committee to meet with each club. Less than half of clubs requested over $1,500 for the spring semester, dramatically decreasing the number of meetings for Abusin and her colleagues.
Abusin and the Committee also address requests that don’t adhere to the Fund Allocation and SGA Spending Guidelines, listed on the SGA website.
“We give it to them flat out. Some requests just aren’t feasible,” said Abusin.
SGA can’t solely approve requests like large building changes or something that involves approval of outside parties.
Abusin encouraged clubs looking to request such changes to contact the SGA secretaries. “It’s the role of secretaries to be liaisons between the students and administration,” she said. Secretaries can communicate with outside channels to tackle larger projects.
After finalizing club budgets, the Budget Committee submits final club budgets to the Senate for approval. The whole process takes about a month, she said.
The approved budgets will also be sent in a mass email to all students in late November.
Other resources for clubs can be found on the SGA website under Club Resources. Links include information about the Fund Allocation Process and a Budgeting Toolbox.