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SGA sets the stage for Big Budget 


David Abe / THE GATEPOST

By Kaitlin Carman

Interim News Editor


SGA approved its own budget proposal for the upcoming Big Budget meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, Jan. 16.


Big Budget is an annual meeting during which senate members approve or disapprove proposed budgets and allocate group one student organization funding from the SATF (Student Activity Trust Fund).


 Group one organizations include SGA, FSAB, WDJM, and The Gatepost.


The allocations will cover the organizations’ needs for maintaining equipment, providing services to the community, and hosting events.


This year, it will be held on Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in McCarthy 419.


Vice President Raffi Elkhoury described it as “a senate meeting where we meet and we basically go over the budget reports and vote to approve or disapprove their budgets.”


He said, “We have to look at the individual expenditures that Group One organizations are allocating their money towards and approve each of those allocations and then we approve their total budget.”


Group One budgets are approved “line item by line item,” while for Groups Two and Six, the senate approves “the group’s total and we approve the amount for that group,” said Elkhoury.


SGA’s total proposed budget is $47,325 for FY25, a 2.87% decrease from FY24 to FY25.


Elkhoury said since FY21, the SGA budget “has been pretty much decreasing every year.”

He presented four smaller budgets and their individual line items that comprise the proposed total budget. They are the operations, training, benevolence, and banquet budgets.


The operations budget totals $25,075.


SGA proposed $3,000 for general and operating expenses, $7,875 for RamLink, $0 for Sam the Ram student worker, $4,200 for the Thomas Eames Scholarship, $0 for parking passes, and $10,000 for auxiliary expenses, according to Elkhoury.


He said that both the proposed funds for the Thomas Eames Scholarship and auxiliary expenses are “set in stone.” 


The Thomas Eames Scholarship covers the SGA President’s yearly tuition and book costs.


Auxiliary expenses include costs such as maintainers, police details, and ASL interpreters, according to Elkhoury.


He said the proposed training budget totals $3,000 to be available for on-campus orientation.


The benevolence awards budget is $1,750, and the banquet budget is $7,000.


According to Elkhoury, a new category has been added to the SGA budget for outreach tabling catering and SGA is requesting $500 to be allocated to it.


“This is a new category that’s been created so that we have a specific area in our budget for money for when we do tabling to be able to provide coffee or donuts or things of that nature at tables so that students can get those things when they come up to the table,” said Elkhoury.


He said an additional $500 has been requested for outreach tabling prizes for students who attend SGA outreach tables.


SGA requested $5,000 for diversity events -  which has remained the same since FY21, according to Elkhoury.


They have allocated an additional $300 for election promotion. Elkhoury said it “is for tabling or stickers or anything relating to promoting the SGA election.


“I think it’s really important that we have the student body active in voting for who the people who represent them are and it’s important that we are promoting that in some capacity, and so having some money for that promotion should help to facilitate that,” he said.


He said two additional categories, Drag Bingo and Spicy Bingo, have been added to designate allocated funds specifically to these individual events.


The $1,000 allocated for Spicy Bingo will cover all of its prizes. However, the $1,000 for Drag Bingo will not, according to Elkhoury.


For co-sponsored events, $1,000 is being requested. This is a $2,500 decrease from the $3,500 that was requested for FY24.


 He said, “I decreased it … given that we had moved out some of the allocations for Drag Bingo and also considering” that SGA did not want to take money away from other organizations. 


Additionally, remaining funds from this proposed allocation will allow and encourage partnerships with smaller organizations through co-sponsorships, according to Elkhoury.


He added, “Co-sponsoring an event with SGA isn’t just about money. … We have a lot of active members who can provide their services and time" as opposed to only supporting monetarily. 


SGA is allocating $200 for promotional items. “In 2021, there had been $500 in promotional items and we have kind of been running with those items still.


“So this is $200 just to get some fresh new stuff,” he said.


The Week of Kindness event is being allocated $1,000 compared to last year’s $500.


“That $500 had actually been a decrease from previous years for Week of Kindness and I think that was definitely felt in our ability to do what we wanted for that event,” said Elkhoury.


Freshman Senator Megan Rokicki asked, “Why is our budget decreasing when it should be increasing a little bit because of when we have to buy catering or something? The prices are going up on things.”


Elkhoury said, “Just because there’s more money total to allocate across to all organizations, that doesn't mean that we should just increase our money because there’s money available.”


There is a slight decrease in the total proposed budget, but changes that were made in individual areas will better meet their needs, according to Elkhoury.

 

“That money could be used for other organizations that have … more of a need than we do,” he said. 

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