The logo for Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG). USG limited Stony Brook clubs’ budgets to $40,000. STATESMAN FILE

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) developed a new line Budget Cap that places a limit of up to $40,000 for clubs and organizations on campus. Four clubs would see a cut of over $10,000. 

USG developed the proposal after analyzing budget distribution across 126 funded clubs, according to President Manjot Singh, a senior civil engineering major. The report found that nearly 50% of clubs receive less than $5,000 per year and that only 10 clubs receive 37% of money allocated to the club budget. The decision’s intent is to relook at the distribution of club funds and how it can better serve a larger population of the student body. 

USG proposed the budget cap to their senate on Dec. 2 and passed it with 21 votes in favor to two in opposition. Two senators abstaining from voting. The resolution will go into effect for the 2022-2023 school year. 

“I think we can collectively say that the entire team, or Eboard, was surprised,” Erin Hwong, treasurer of the Crew Club and junior marine vertebrate biology and environmental sciences major, said. Hwong claims that USG did not advertise the senate meeting effectively to their team. The Crew Club will lose at least $12,500 once the budget limit goes into effect. 


The budget cap will also significantly decrease three other club’s budgets — Men’s Rugby, Roller Hockey and Ice Hockey. 

“We wish that we had found out in a different way, like if they had come to us before they had actually had the meeting already,” Hwong said. “We just felt that it could have been more constructive and an effective and smooth process if we had found out about it in a different way than just by email.”

The Ice Hockey team will be hit the hardest, with a current club budget of $114,975, prompting a meeting with USG and the Vice President for Student Affairs Rick Gatteau about the cuts. The Ice Hockey team declined to comment. 

Vice President of Communications Sowad Ocean Karim said that the budget isn’t targeted to any club and that “it’s solely so that we can make sure that everyone has a chance to get a share of the pie.”


Rollover money that was once part of another club’s budget will be redistributed to other areas. Once club budgets for the next year are finalized, any remaining money will go into the grants line, which any club making less than $40,000 can apply for.

There will also be a new unfunded club grant program, which will set aside a separate pool of cash that only clubs with no budget can apply for. 

“I’ve been requesting for our clubs, that especially this spring, request everything you might need,” USG Treasurer Pujan Patel, an applied mathematics and science senior, said about spring budget weekend, where clubs vie for a budget increase for the next school year. “Don’t hold yourself back on that. Now that we are going to have some more available funds that we can allocate to clubs again, I’ve been telling clubs to request as much as they need.”

USG Senator and junior political science major Kim Stepien, who voted against the budget cap, asked during the meeting if the general student body could become involved in the decision, according to the meeting minutes. Singh pointed out that only the Senate could approve changes to the financial bylaws, as per USG constitution rules. 

“I questioned in the Senate how we can obtain a bigger outreach to grasp all those comments, concerns and suggestions from the students,” Stepien said. “I want to continue growing our outreach. Every voice deserves to be heard and my job as a senator is to represent the student body because everything is for them.”


The line club budget, which in total equals around $1.227 million, comes out of the mandatory student activity fee every full-time undergraduate student pays per semester. The student activity fee has remained at $99.50 for 15 years, a point USG prides itself on. While Singh admits that some students take more advantage of the student activity fee than others based on participation in campus organizations, he remained firm in the benefits that the redistribution could bring. 

“Every club has an impact on this campus and I cannot speak for that impact. I have no right,” Singh said. “The return on investment, you know, it has to be more equitable for all students, [the club budget] can’t just be too high for certain clubs and organizations because they have needs that are very expensive.” 

Worry shrouds the Crew Club for their upcoming year. The team, which has open membership policies and no try-outs, competes at multiple regattas per year. Losing over $10,000 could result in attending less competitions and forgoing rehiring a professional coach for their next season, which Hwong points out can become a safety issue. 

During the senate meeting, Singh said it was not “fair for the student budget to go towards expensive or luxury things” that could not serve a wider audience of students.

“We haven’t bought luxury items in a very long time, like the things that we spend money on besides regattas, are our equipment and that’s just necessary for the sport,” Hwong said. “We’re still rowing in boats that were built in the ‘80s. They’re not luxuries.”

The Crew Club may also be forced to raise membership dues, which currently stand at $200 per person. 


“We never want money to be a reason why kids aren’t participating in a sport,” Hwong said. “But there is a chance that if we have to increase the dues, it just won’t be financially doable for some kids.”

USG will be holding a town hall at a currently unspecified date to discuss the line budget cap and other issues regarding USG policies and leadership.


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