SGA changes allocations process

Maire Hunter

Staff Reporter

Many people on campus shudder just hearing the word “allocation.”

All they can think about is paperwork, waiting, receiving less money than requested, or getting denied altogether.

Hopefully all that is about to change.

An excerpt from the new Allocations FAQ sheet hints at what we should be expecting next year.

“Devised by the SGA, the allocation process is system of disbursing funds to campus organizations that meet the stated guidelines…This process is implemented to ensure fairness to all campus organizations and to encourage fiscal and event planning for entire academic year.”

Revisions of the allocation process are not quite finished, but so far the changes indicate some major shifts that the incoming Student Government Association’s executive board is hoping to implement. The overarching plan is to see allocation money used to impact as many students as possible, increase the transparency of the SGA’s workings, and encourage better accountability all around.

The Organization Council was held Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. Under 20 club leaders and proxies attended, presumably because it was held at the same time as the annual Ridington lecture. The Hispano-Latino Alliance (HLA), Asian Community Coalition (ACC), Allies, Outdoors Club, and at least two Greek organizations were some of the groups represented.

The SGA is eager to see the relationship between the SGA and the student body grow, as well as the relationships between clubs. By giving preference to groups who choose to co-sponsor events, larger and better planned functions will be held, which will allow funding to reach more students.

The SGA total budget for 2009-2010 was $___, 59% of which was used for allocations. The projected budget for 2010-2011 shows $38,700 with 51% going toward allocations. The decrease was necessary in order to make room for new campus projects and continuation of the older ones, like the installation of the flat screen TVs this year.

The changes in the bylaws and requirements are all moves toward “using money more effectively and efficiently than ever before,” says Dean Gerl, who attended the Organization Council. Details about the new process, and many other SGA documents, should be available on the Student Intranet by the end of the semester at

In an e-mail after the meeting, president-elect, Nick Bender, wrote that he thought “the meeting was informative, and it was necessary to get the new changes out to clubs and organizations before the start of next semester so they can have ample time to strategically plan for the upcoming academic year.”

Bender was also pleased with the feedback he received, and hoped he adequately responded to the “tough questions,” since he wants “to make this process as clear cut and transparent as possible.” The SGA plans to hold another session for clubs who were not able to attend or need help understanding the changes.

Bender also outlined the new regulations about what the SGA would and would not be funding next year, most notably: no direct donations to charity, food for regular meetings, or traveling expenses for groups smaller than 30 students.

There was some concern during the meeting about whether these changes would negatively affect smaller groups.

Kim Trang, the secretary of the Asian Community Coalition (ACC) has been frustrated with the process. The few meetings she has been able to attend have made her think “that the whole process is not organized. Only a few organizations are represented, either because the meeting times are inconvenient or because clubs feel like [the] SGA is not helpful.”

The executive board is certainly eager to dispel these feelings.

Graduating president Ben Cowman has seen the allocation process change over the past few years, but is confidant that the additions to the process will help. He hopes that as clubs start to plan and budget more efficiently, funding requests will become more accurate and successful.

“It’s always a struggle to try to be as fair as possible,” but he hopes that once students learn the new regulations they will find that they were made to “be inclusive” and encourage planning.

“Everyone, including the SGA, needs to be more accountable about how money is spent.”

Dean Gerl, Vice President of Student Affairs, hopes to see better transitions from year to year and more effective record keeping in the future from the clubs and the SGA, which would make spending trends more visible and accountability simpler. Students leaders have “the responsibility to learn” the new process and the SGA has “the responsibility to fix” any issues that may come up.

As to the monthly status reports, Dean Gerl does not think it is too much to ask. It gives the current organizations a chance to assess their own events and budgeting to see what worked well, and future groups the ability to reference the reports and learn from the past.

What’s the take-home message? Yes, there are changes that will require clubs and organizations to fill out more paperwork and stay in better contact with the SGA, but these measures will ensure that allocated money is spent appropriately and will reach the greatest number of students.

New Club Requirements:

Submit a budget outlining revenue (from dues, anticipated fundraising, donations, and contributions from academic departments, ODMA, etc.) and their expenses (from promotional materials, registration fees, etc.)

Plan to participate in at least one community service event each semester

Sign a contract once funding is approved

Submit a monthly status report about how money was spent

Total Allocations of the 2009-2010 Budget $22,177

Active Minds $200

Allies $280

Amnesty International $470

Art Club $319

Asian Coalition $300

Black Student Union $1,500

Canine Puppy Club $330

Cheese Club $1,042

Christian Fellowship $640

College Libertarians $475

Commuters $800

Dance Company $50

Environmental Action $750

Flying Disc $225

Flying Disc United Peoples $220

French Club $100

Hispano-Latino Alliance $2,500

International Relations $570

Jewish Student Union $450

Justice League $500

MD Student Legislature $1,500

MSEA $300

Outdoors Club $1,030

Palabras 2 Words $200

Phi Alpha $150

Phi Delta Theta $1,000

Phi Sigma Sigma $900

Psychology $600

Relay for Life $350

Senior Class $2,500

Sophisticated Ladies $160

Ultimate Frisbee $461

Up ‘Till Dawn $1,000

Women’s Issues Group $325