Senate discusses 2019-20 budget, second wave of SGA voting

Photo by Emma Chaffee ’22  Senate met on Tuesday, April 16 in the Blanchard Great Room where they discussed budgeting and voting.

Photo by Emma Chaffee ’22

Senate met on Tuesday, April 16 in the Blanchard Great Room where they discussed budgeting and voting.

BY MELISSA JOHNSON ’20

On Tuesday, April 16, Senate held their weekly meeting in the Blanchard Great Room. The meeting was mainly focused on voting for the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) budget and the updated Ways and Means guidelines for the 2019-20 academic year. Senate also announced that the second wave of the all-campus Election poll is out to be voted by the student body. The SGA wants all students to vote in order to reach quorum, and the link for the poll can be found in students’ emails. Polls close on Monday, April 22. 

SGA Treasurer Ye Zhang ’20 presented on the current budget allocation and the upcoming SGA budget for next year. Zhang explained that some of the major highlighted events for this academic year’s budget were big events on campus such as Spring Weekend, VariAsians and HackHolyoke. The budget for 2018-2019 has also been spent on off-campus conferences and funded several speaker events.

Zhang also discussed the highlights for the upcoming year’s budget. “Because less money will be put back into the reserves, more funding will be available for student organizations and club sports,” Zhang said. Next year’s budget will be used to provide more funding for cultural centers on campus and the Students of Color Committee (SOCC).

The SGA budget for next year will likely total around $417,000. 39.6 percent of that budget will likely be spent on student organizations, 17 percent on club sports and 10 percent on SGA expenses. The other expenses include fixed expenses and operational expenses that are necessary every year. 

After senators voted on whether or not to pass the proposed budget, Georgia Fitzgerald ’22 spoke on behalf of the Ways and Means Committee, proposing new guideline changes for the upcoming school year.

The six new guideline changes for the upcoming year involved funding for student orgs, costumes, apparel, org branding, off-campus learning experiences, public transportation and hotel/housing accommodations. 

Fitzgerald explained some of the new guideline changes, for example, rather than giving $50 a semester to student orgs for “internal org events,” the Committee is now setting aside that money for general org meetings. The committee will also fund costumes on a yearly basis rather than every three years. Additionally, the committee has decided they are raising the money distributed for student org branding (the promotion and publicity of orgs) to $15 per person. 

Fitzgerald also explained further changes for off-campus learning experiences that student orgs take advantage of every year. Senate is in the process of changing requirements for off-campus travel. Additionally, student orgs who use public transportation are being asked to report before the event the expected costs in order to receive funding. Finally, for student orgs that choose to stay in either a hotel or Airbnb, the standard funding is $130 per night for four people per room. 

Fitzgerald concluded the presentation explaining that the committee is looking to make further improvements in the coming year; they hope to find a more user-friendly funding application platform and allow for more flexibility in the spending of allocated funds. Senators voted again on a different ballot for the Ways and Means guidelines changes. Senate concluded with a Career Development Center workshop focused on senators’ skills in the workplace. 

Next week on April 23, Senate will meet in the Blanchard Great Room for the final time this semester.