The increase in the number of clubs is causing a smaller budget than previous semesters. Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Diane Campbell said that there were “40 clubs, whereas this semester there is 59.” While the number of clubs is bigger this year, the budget stayed the same. “$77,500. The same as last year,” said Dr. Campbell.
According to Dr. Campbell the Student Activities budget is shared between both the West Windsor and the JKC campus. The West Windsor campus is receiving $36,000, the JKC campus is receiving $16,000 and the remainder of the budget, $25,000 is given to the Student Government Association.
Ronald Saunders, a second year Communication Radio major and President of the Radio club has raised questions about the use of the budget by Student Government Association (SGA).
However on Feb. 28, 2013 at the SGA finance meeting Danielle Garruba of student activities said that clubs are not losing funding. President of SGA Anderson Monken informed the students that the annual Spring Day will not be, “full scale” because “there’s not enough money in the budget to produce a full scale spring day like we’ve had in the past.”
According to Monken, instead of the normal spring day that is held here at Mercer, a smaller event will take its place.
Dean Campbell and Assistant Director of Student Activities John Simone are thinking of solutions to address the issue. One of the solutions could be to “only fund clubs in the beginning of the year,” said Dr. Campbell. This strategy would ensure that clubs would at least receive the same amount of funding throughout the school year.
Every first and third Thursday of the month the finance department of the SGA will determine whether or not your club should receive extra funding. This meeting is open to students according to Dean Campbell.
Dr. Campbell told the VOICE that presidents of clubs can request for more money to the Student Activities Board (SAB) or the students can organize fundraisers if the budget is not sufficient.
Saunders is aware of the difficulties other clubs may be facing. “It [budget cut] has affected a lot of smaller clubs here at Mercer. Normally will be promoting a lot of other clubs, since the other clubs have had funding’s cut we’ve had less to promote.”
Dean Campbell explained that some clubs receive more money than others. Media related clubs do, such as Viking 89 and the VOICE, because they are actually considered organizations and not clubs.
The SGA is also being directly affected by the insufficient funds in the SAB. According to Monken, “the past few years we’ve been taking trips to New York, bringing students to
Broadway plays. But unfortunately this semester with the budget we wanted to try and scale that back so we can try and also do what little we can with the budget that’s left.”
Saunders describes the SGA’s use of the budget as being “wasteful.” Saunders told the VOICE that last fall he offered to do the music for club day “for free.” However the SGA decided to hire an outside vendor that charged around $200 to $300, according to Monken.
Saunders argued that this type of spending was not only a waste of the student activities budget but also restricted his club or organization from promoting itself at club day.
In response to Saunders statement SGA President Anderson Monken said, “we looked into having them at the event but ultimately decided against it.”
Monken explained that “there was a little bit of miscommunication with that club day and so we hired an outside DJ.”
However, Monken admits knowing prior to the event that, “they volunteered to do it for free,”
he said, “one might describe that as wasteful spending, I describe it as someone who gave it as shot and wanted to try a new idea.”
According to Alex Henry, former SGA Vice President, “as the board, we really never had numbers. We thought about themes, but money never really was the issue. I was on the board, and on the individual committee for Spring Day. To this day, I have no idea how much it costs.”
It is unclear if SGA knows what they are spending. What is clear is the SAB is short this semester and clubs will have to figure out ways to finish the year with the budget they already have, or raise money through fundraisers to supplement their finances.
It was announced at the March 7 SGA meeting that there will be a Spring Day this semester. SGA President Anderson Monken thanked John Simone for his advocacy in the matter.
March 13, 2013 – This article contains changes from the original print edition. Danielle Garruba was identified incorrectly in the print edition as “Daniel Gruber” in the third paragraph. Alex Henry was also incorrectly identified as “Andrew Reed” in the seventeenth paragraph.