Senate to finalize 2013-14 base budget proposal

By Anya Zentmeyer | 2/27/13 10:39pm


GVL / Robert Mathews
Student Senate President Jack Iott

by Robert Mathews / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State University Student Senate is expected to ratify their 2013-14 Student Life Fund base budget proposal today at their general assembly meeting, including a $25,000 increase in funding for the Graduate Student Association, who will receive a $55,000 allocation next fall, plus one-third of any 2013-14 rollover funds.

“We understand the graduate program is growing alongside its student organizations and we see their need for increased allocation,” said Stephanie Ewart, vice president of the senate’s finance committee. “The GSA has worked alongside the Office of Student Life and Finance (Committee) to establish financial checks and balances, and operate in a similar manner as standing councils.”

Ewart said the decision to increase their funding was based on a proposal by the GSA, showing merit and need over the past year, and hope the allocation will help “aid in their growth and development.”

“This recommendation was completely student-based between the graduate and undergraduate president’s and vice president’s of finance,” she said. “The goal of these types of boards is to allow students to have a voice.”

This year, the base budget also includes a new “recreation sports” category, allocated at $4,000 for the 2013-14 academic year. This is because unlike club sports, which have received a $358,000 allocation for the past three years from the Student Life Fund, recreation sport teams were not previously included in the base budget.

“…So by providing them a separate line item allocated to noncompetitive and start-up groups, we think this will help alleviate the difficulties they have receiving funding,” Ewart said. “The current reserve for sports is not large and it is often difficult for recreation groups to obtain any of these funds.”

Professional organizations will now be included under the Greek Life Council, Ewart said, because many of those groups function more closely to Greek Life Council organizations than they do honorary ones. Senators hope the shift, which reallocates $3,000 from the academic and professional organizations to bring the Greek Life Council total up to $34,000, will help “keep the process congruent from within,” she said.

Spotlight Entertainment will see a $10,000, 7.4 percent increase in their funding allocation, from $135,000 to $145,000, in an effort to bring in bigger names to perform on GVSU’s campus.

“The acts Spotlight brings in are an important part of the campus climate,” she said. “Having these performances is a level of attraction for the university as well as a way to engage students who don’t typically benefit from the Student Life Fund.”

The Student Senate’s internal operating budget will see a $2,000 increase at $27,000 for the 2013-14 total.

The creation station, a craft supply center located in the Student Organization Center for use by registered organizations, will see a $5,000 drop in dedicated funds, while $9,000 will be dedicated to the new student organization website OrgSync, which will replace the current Stuey system with hopes of improving functionality and organization’s connectivity.

Ewart said that although the budgeting process doesn’t formally start until the beginning of winter semester, the process is actually yearlong for the finance committee, which she oversees. Senators that chair each of the senate’s individual committees, she said, work to analyze how effectively the money is being spent.

“Senators use tracking sheets and event assessments to see ‘how much’ is being spent and the success rate of these events and programs,” she said. “By the time budget planning comes around they have already formulated a good base of how much to allocate.”

The Student Senate general assembly will meet today at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center’s Pere Marquette room.

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