Student Senate to vote on annual budget today

Courtesy Photo /
Alyssa Tierney

Courtesy Photo / Alyssa Tierney

Lauren Ringger

What would you do with $1 million?

For most college students, such a sum is incomprehensible. But Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate must answer that question every year when it constructs the yearly budget.

“When creating the budget, each council is thoughtfully considered for what will be best for them, as well as campus,” said Natalie Cleary, Student Senate’s vice president of public relations. “It is a long process and we put a lot of effort into it.”

The Student Senate will vote to finalize the proposed budget today.

“The vote should run smoothly,” Cleary said. “The proposal has been on the table for three weeks now, and all of the student organizations were sent the proposal, and no concerns have been brought to us yet.”

Out of the $1 million allocated, $86,500 will remain in the reserve fund, a 1.31 percent decrease in reserve funding from last year. Jarrett Martus, Student Senate president, said the reason for the reserve decrease is because student organizations are becoming more fiscally responsible. Organizations are able to request reserve fund money from the Appropriations Committee for additional funding. However, Martus said because councils are starting to grasp the budget process Student Senate does not need to keep as much money in the reserve fund.

The top three councils that receive the most funding are Sports Council, Spotlight Council and Cultural Council.

The Sports Council is proposed to receive $358,000 in funding, a 2.29 percent increase from last year.

“Funding is increasing because there continues to be new teams starting up due to student interests, and these have associated costs like coaching, training, facilities and officiating,” said Bob Stoll, director of Student Life Sports. “There are currently 51 sports and recreation organizations with over 1,000 student athletes involved. There are teams associated with national organizations. It costs a lot to run these programs safely and at a competitive level.”

The Sports Council includes organizations such as rowing, lacrosse and volleyball. Martus said the organizations within the Sports Council also hold fundraisers and pay to participate to raise more necessary money.

Spotlight Productions is proposed to receive $120,000 worth of funding, the same amount the organization has received for the past two years. Spotlight puts on several campus-wide events every year, the largest being the homecoming concert. This year, Spotlight planned the Jason Derulo concert in the Fieldhouse Arena. Spotlight also brings in comedians and motivational speakers. They put on Rocky Horror Picture Show, Battle of the Bands, Open Mic Night and several other programs.

The Cultural Council comes in third for the largest budget. It receives $75,000, a 14.77 percent decrease from last year. The Cultural Council consists of clubs like African Student Council, the Arab Culture Club, the International Club, the Latino Student Union (LSU) and Russian Circle. The Cultural Council’s events try to give other students an experience of a different culture. Last year the Cultural Council put on events such as Asian New Year, Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner and the Korean Cultural Festival.

There are several other areas to which Student Senate allocates money such Presidents’ Ball, the Creation Station and the Academic Conference Fund.

“We are budgeting funds that go back out to the students,” Martus said.

The vote to finalize how GVSU’s Student Senate will spend $1 million will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 2204 of Kirkhof Center.

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