Fisher: SGA orgs. fund running low

by Beacon Staff • December 3, 2008

The rising number of student organizations on campus since 2006 have resulted in a low pool of cash-on-hand for the Student Government Association to dish out from its groups account, said SGA president Scott Fisher.

The account comes from every Emerson student's $160 student government fee, which hasn't been raised in about three years, according to an e-mail from Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy. The last hike was from $2 to $5. Each year SGA reconsiders the student fee and makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees whether to increase it or not.

Since 2006, at least 11 student groups have been created and approved by SGA, according to documents provided by Student Life.

Now, Fisher said, the account is running low because there are more groups for less money, but neither Fisher nor Duffy could provide exact amounts. He said the diminishing account is reason to enforce a new rule requiring groups to match 10 percent of the money they receive from SGA with their own fundraising.

When a group is first recognized by SGA, it is given a $500 budget for the semester. The following semester, the Financial Advisory Board, which is led by the SGA Executive Treasurer, allocates an amount based on an assessment of the group's prior use of its funds.

At the end of each academic year, any unused funds immediately roll back into the SGA account.

Since the new "10 percent" rule was implemented, each group requesting funds has been able to reach the requirement.

He said the rule encourages organizations to seek co-sponsorships from other groups and the various academic departments.

The shallow pool of organization funds has not forced any belt-tightening yet. Ten groups have appealed to the SGA for special infusions of cash, and each has gotten the money it asked for.

The new 10 percent rule is sound fiscal policy, Fisher said, because appeals tend to be for large sums.

"We have to be careful with our money," he said.