BY MERYL PHAIR ’21
An unprecedented number of funding applications submitted to the Mount Holyoke Student Government Association (SGA) Ways and Means Committee this semester has left the committee unable to finance all the requests.
The Ways and Means Committee oversees funding designated for recognized student organizations. They ensure that guidelines are adhered to, conduct audits to review funding applications, function as the financial review board to Senate and present the budget of the SGA in April.
During the month of April, Ways and Means received 70 funding applications totaling to an overall asking amount of $100,000. This is the largest number of applications the committee has ever received.
For comparison, they typically receive 30 to 40 applications each month. With such an unexpected increase, the Student Government Association budget was not able to support funding for all applications.
“The Ways and Means Committee was put in a challenging position because they simply did not have enough funds to cover all of the requests from student orgs. In the past several years, we’ve moved away from fundraising especially for club sports. I think we should rethink the benefits of fundraising, [which] will help to ensure that all orgs and students have equal opportunities,” said Liz Brown ’20, SGA chair.
SGA reserve money has been used up over the past several years, so Ways and Means was unable to pull from that reserve to cover the cost of the increased applications this semester.
The decrease from the usual funding available was met by students with disappointment. Ysabel Lavitz ’20 and Ada Schnake ’18, the current and former treasurers of Mount Holyoke’s frisbee team respectively, expressed frustration with the lack of funding.
“We know everyone on the committee is doing their best, and it is very difficult to make everyone happy with funding,” said Schnake. “There’s no perfect way to do it.”
“I can say it is definitely very frustrating to not receive funding for tournaments you want to attend. It definitely ends up in some frantic fundraising efforts,” she added.
Alicia Erwin, assistant dean of students and director of student programs did her best to reassure students in an email sent out to student organization leaders on Tuesday, April 3.
“The staff in Student Programs are here to help you make the most of the funding you received, to make your events possible and can also connect you to other offices and departments who may be able to provide sponsorship,” she said.
“We are also here to hear your concerns, frustrations, etc.” she added, “but please reach out to talk in person.”