Since the beginning of the year, Student Senate has faced a deficit due to lower enrollment and a number of large funds requests, which depleted the winter budget from $8,119 to $1,421 within just the first few weeks of the term.
In an effort to stabilize the budget, Student Senate President Tevin Liao and Vice President of Student Development Anne Ehrlich reached the decision to transfer $5,000 from Ehrlich’s personal discretionary fund to Senate.
“[The transfer] came up during a discussion about how we’re going to progress with Senate, especially since we were in a financial fiasco at the time,” Liao said. “It was something that she offered to us.”
According to Head of Finance Committee Samuel Cohen, since the transfer of the funds, Senate technically has $2,400 left, plus an additional $800 that was awarded to a club who will not be using the money they requested.
Although the transfer of the funds was offered by Ehrlich, it is not expected to become a common practice in Senate. Cohen said that there is usually not this large of a deficit experienced at the beginning of the year, nor are there as many large funds requests that are not already allocated for in the clubs’ budgets.
Ehrlich’s discretionary fund is also generally used for other projects on campus.
“[The fund] usually helps supplement student events,” Liao said. “There are times that there are large events that may have gone over budget and need extra help, or it may be a specific organization that [cannot] request through Senate. It’s used for a very wide array of thingsÑall to help enhance the life of the students.”
The Senate Finance Committee has also taken a number of steps to relieve the amount of funds requested by clubs and other organizations on campus.
“I’ve already taken more action to be a little more strict when it comes to budgeting. For my committee, when additional funds requests come to us, we often are willing to cut a little more,” Cohen said. “We’ve slowed down a bit because of the influx.”
Despite the committee’s decision to ask some clubs to request lower amounts, Cohen assures that Senate is still dedicated to the student body and will try to fund student development wherever possible.
“We haven’t been going crazy like, ‘Okay, we’re not accepting you because of this.’ We still try and pass whatever we can because funding student development is what we’re supposed to do,” Cohen said.
Liao also expressed a positive outlook toward the future of the Senate budget in the upcoming Spring Term.
“This was very much the case of … under enrollment at the beginning of the year. That’s why we were in the situation that we were in,” Liao said. “In the end, we’re in a pretty stable place.”