SA Senate passes next year’s budget
Society of Automotive Engineers and Black Student Union receive most among student clubs
The Student Association Senate passed its $4.3 million budget for the upcoming school year, during the last meeting of the semester on Monday, a roughly $56,000 increase from last year’s $4.2 million budget.
The SA is primarily funded by a mandatory student fee of $104.75 per semester, which the report estimates will collect $3.7 million from a combined 17,725 students in the fall and 17,000 students in the spring.
The SA mandatory activity fee was last raised in 2014 when roughly 5 percent of the undergraduate population voted to increase the fee from $94.75 to $104.75.
SA Treasurer Janet Austin said she created the budget packet with seven hand-selected Senate members that helped her through the process.
Austin said she wants to see another increase soon.
“I’m hoping there’s an increase in the activity fee,” Austin said. “If people want Fest to be big and if people want Gala to be big, then there has to be a little bit of an increase.”
Looking to next year, $2.1 million of the budget is allocated toward the SA office. The office finances salaries, office supplies, and rental car expenses and events, such as the Homecoming Carnival held during Family Weekend, according to Austin.
The second biggest allocation will go to SA Entertainment, the unit responsible for events like guest speakers and the music fests.
The most notable change to the entertainment budget was in production costs for Fall and Spring Fest. This year SA allocated $365,000 toward fest production, but next year it is projected to cost $480,000, a $115,000 increase.
Austin said the budget for fests increased because performing artists are demanding more “intricate production” for the shows. Austin also cited a new law requiring “professional stage workers,” who charge more for their services compared to SA and Center for the Arts workers.
The budget also carved out $627,085 of the $4.3 million for the SA’s 150-plus student clubs.
The two clubs with the highest budgets for next year are the Society of Automotive Engineers with $35,000 and the Black Student Union with $33,000.
Austin recommended clubs go beyond their minimum fundraising requirements and spend their allocated budget in order to raise it for the following year.
“There are a lot of clubs that didn’t touch their budget at the time budgets were being made, so you’re not really going to get more money if you are not using the money you’re already given,” Austin said.
The SA president, vice president and treasurer will continue to receive $15,000 stipends each.
The budget must be approved by the university’s Student Life department to become official, which will happen sometime next week, according to Austin.