Stony Brook University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) unveiled its $1.3 million budget for clubs and organizations for the 2018-19 academic year in a conference at the Sidney Gelber Auditorium in the Student Activities Center on Wednesday.
USG’s overall proposed budget for the upcoming academic year is $3.32 million, smaller than last year’s budget of $3.43 million, but the organization managed to allocate $18,868.07 more to clubs than it did last year while adding $40,000 to its pool of grant money.
“We increased club allocation while getting less money which means we decreased internal operations, which is obviously a positive thing,” outgoing USG treasurer and senior economics major Alex Bouraad said. “The less overhead you have, the more we can give to our clubs and orgs.”
Clubs and organizations registered with USG attended hearings the weekend of March 2 where they made their case for their funding to the USG’s budget committee. To avoid showing favoritism to any one group, Bouraad and incoming treasurer Adrian Ortega recused themselves from the budget committee’s review of the proposals. USG limited each club’s budgetary changes to either a 7 percent increase, a 7 percent decrease or no change in funding.
“You can’t evaluate clubs at different tiers in their careers,” Bouraad said. “We also look at operational expense, we look at a lot of different things.”
Ortega, a sophomore computer engineering major, said 85 percent of USG-funded clubs saw their budgets for next year increase.
Some organizations, like the Solar Racing Team, were concerned that the 7 percent budget increase they received would still not be enough to cover their operating expenditures, which include travel and competition entry fees.
“A 7 percent increase may work for some clubs, but for us, a competition team, we definitely need more than that for our team to be sustainable,” Benny Lin, senior mechanical engineering major and the Solar Racing Team’s president, said after the reveal.
Bouraad encouraged the organizations that were unsatisfied with their 2018-19 budget to appeal the process and seek out grants from USG, which can be allotted on a need-based basis to substantiate each club’s budget.
“USG offers grants no matter what size your budget is,” Bouraad said. “As soon as you become line budget, you’re able to apply for our grants. If a club with $100,000 or a club with $1,000 come in, they have the same ability to get the same level of grant.”
Currently, USG has $90,000 in its grant allocation budget for Fall 2018, and Bouraad expects the total to increase to around $150,000 after the student government receives more funds from the university.
All clubs and organizations can appeal through Google Forms accepted from now until Tuesday, April 17. Appeals will be vetted April 17 and passed on to the USG budget committee for approval or denial before the USG Senate votes on the budget Thursday, April 19.