With great money comes great responsibility
Breaking down the five SA clubs with the largest budgets
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 01:09
Editor’s note: For the purpose of this article, the budget amounts include rollover funds from the previous year.
The Student Association, which currently controls over $3.6 million, is responsible for the budgets of over 150 student clubs. These clubs, in turn, provide services for students in the name of SA. The budgets and expenditures of these clubs are available to the public through the general ledger on SA’s website.
Black Student Union (BSU) (People of Color)
BSU has the largest budget of any SA club. Robin Murray, a junior mathematics major and the club’s vice president, said the money doesn’t go toward one large event, but toward many events over the course of the semester that cater to all kinds of students.
The club holds “anything and everything that pertains to a student,” he said, including events Mayor Byron Brown sometimes attends.
Greg Bellanton, a junior exercise science major and the club’s president, said the money comes with “great responsibility.”
“It’s our responsibility to make sure that we actually fundraise back that half of our budget,” he said.
Although events are often packed, the majority of the fundraising comes from the BSU Fashion Show. The show attracts students from every major campus in Buffalo, putting attendance in the thousands, according to Bellanton. He believes the show is the second largest in Buffalo. He thinks his budget should go toward many events for the student body, instead of just one.
Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) (Engineering)
SAE is the largest engineering club at UB. It uses its budget to construct automobiles from scratch for various competitions, including the national Mini-Baja off-road vehicle competition.
“Most of our budget goes [to these competitions]” said Mathew Egan, a senior mechanical engineering major and the club’s president. “The attendance itself is $1,000 a person.”
SAE has been involved with the Mini-Baja competition since 1985, and with the Clean Snowmobile competition since its inception in 2000, according to Egan. SAE has constructed and entered over 20 vehicles and finished ninth in the nation for the Mini-Baja contest in 2011, according to the club’s website.
It’s a costly endeavor, and sometimes funds from SA aren’t enough to cover all costs, Egan said. Companies often donate automobile parts to the Mini-Baja and Clean Snowmobile teams.
Strategists and Role-Players Association(SARPA)(SISH)
With a membership numbering in the hundreds, SARPA is the largest special-interests club at UB. In addition to its weekly events, the club hosts two conventions each year – a charity event and UB-Con, a comic and videogame convention.
“That’s most of our budget,” said Tyler Linn, a senior psychology major and SARPA’s president. “Probably 70 or 80 percent of our budget goes toward [UB-Con].”
Linn said the high attendance at UB-Con, which is held annually in the spring in the Student Union, is responsible for the club’s large budget and rollover. Last year, approximately 1,600 people paid admission to attend, allowing for the large budget rollover.
Earlier this semester, the SARPA office was broken into and video game consoles were stolen. This year’s budget has, so far, only gone toward replacing what was taken, Linn said.
Men’s Ice Hockey (Sports)
Michael Pliszka, a junior chemical engineering major and the president of the men’s ice hockey club team, isn’t shy about his club’s large budget.
“A lot of people don’t know, but ice hockey is one of the most expensive sports,” he said. “We’re always bargaining with SA for [a bigger budget].”
This year, the team’s expenditures came close to $60,000 – more than twice the amount it was given by SA. The club is only able to afford what it needs by charging players a $1,600 player fee. All of the club’s money goes straight to gear, ice time and other expenses for the team, he said.
Pliszka said the money, however, is going to good use. Last year, the Division I club team won its sub-division championship and ranked No. 21 in the nation – one spot away from going to nationals. The club recently added a Division III team, Pliszka said. The club now has two teams with about 60 players involved.
Women’s Rugby (Sports)
The Division I women’s rugby team controls nearly $24,000 this year. It was one of the only SA club teams to make it to nationals last year – the first time for the club, according to Megan Hann, a junior chemical and biological engineering major and the club’s president. SA granted the team more money because of its successful season.