By KASEY TYRING
With more than $20,000 worth of funds to give away, the Student Government Association (SGA) Student Senate held this semester’s SGA appropriations meeting Tuesday night. Registered Student Organizations (RSO) applied for funding from SGA but only 13 out of the 27 RSOs received funding. The appropriations meeting gave the RSO’s a chance to explain why they need SGA’s financial help and gave senators a chance to debate the amount of funding appropriated to each organization.
Any RSO is allowed to apply for funding by SGA. The RSOs fill out an application specifying how much funding they need and what specifically they need it for. SGA Executive Vice President Steven Bradford said that the committee then ranks the organizations. The ranking committee looks at many variables to rank the organizations.
“The appropriations chair makes a ranking committee (and) they look for what kind of fundraising they’ve done in the past, how much they are asking for, if the organization is benefitting EKU students,” Bradford said.
The ranking committee ranks each RSO based on merit. The committee looks for age of the organization, fundraising and member dues, contributions toward the campus as a whole, previous SGA funding and attendance at the mandatory appropriations informational meeting, as specified in the Student Senate bylaws.
The ranking decides what organizations go first during the meeting. The Senate gives out money until the funds run out. Therefore, the RSOs ranked at the bottom of the list could receive no funding at all. This was the case for the last 12 RSOs during Tuesday’s meeting. Two other RSOs didn’t receive funding because they didn’t have a representative in attendance at the meeting.
The Marching Colonels walked away with the most funds, receiving $4,300 after asking for $92,125. They were ranked third in the appropriations process.
At the meeting, the RSO’s had a chance to give a 30-second speech and then their Senate representative said a few words about the particular organization. The floor was then opened up for discussion. Senators debated about such budget items as money for gasoline, hotel rooms, and promotional materials.
A pattern started to form at the meeting. Any organization with specifics about their budget and organizations that showed effort in raising their own funds through member dues and fundraisers, received the most funding from SGA. Organizations who did not have representatives attend the meeting were typically not awarded any money. Representatives who did not have specifics about what their group was asking for in their budget received less funding.
For example the new Board Game Club knew the exact amount of money they were going to spend on certain games. The representative explained his process of researching board game prices so they received almost all the funds they requested.
The process produced mixed feelings from the RSO representatives. Some thought that they were not given a chance to explain the importance of the funds they were requesting.
“I believe most people in SGA didn’t understand why we needed certain things for our budget.” said Brenda Highbaugh, 18, psychology major from Louisville and the president of the SOS Brigade. “A lot of our members are at-risk students. That’s why we don’t ask for member dues.”
The SOS Brigade received $450 from appropriations but originally asked for $1,504. The senators debated why they should award so much money to an organization that does not pay member dues and did not have any fundraisers planned.
Though the Appropriations process is done for this semester, there are still grants available for RSOs through SGA. Theses grants include the Aramark, diversity and information technology grants. For more information, stop by the SGA Office in the Powell Building.