Student senate sets 2017-18 budget

Student senate sets 2017-18 budget

Jess Hodge

Three weeks of debates, discussions and $1.2 million later, Grand Valley State University’s student senate approved the budget for the Student Life Fund for 2017-18. 

The money is separated into three categories— campus programming, travel and other— and is then given to clubs and organizations within those denominations with funding requests. 

Vice president of finance Rachel Travis and her committee members put together a report showing the rest of the senate body how and why funds were being reallocated. 

The biggest increase was given to club sports. In the fiscal year 2016-17, they used all of the $396,000 they were allotted. They were approved for $425,000 for FY 2017-18. 

This increase was one of the more heavily debated changes. While the majority of senators agreed club sports was due for more funding, the $29,000 increase was too much and a portion of the money could go to different funds, such as the performing arts fund or service and advocacy.

“Yes we received an extra $25,000 but should all of that, plus more, go to club sports? (I) think that maybe it’s a little unfair,” said student senator River Gibbs. “My concern too is that we took a lot of money and put it in club sports, and took a lot of money and put it in media, (but) that leaves less money in the funds that are requested from.”

Gibbs made a motion to decrease club sports and put the money toward the performing arts, service and advocacy and student senate internal budget funds. Travis backed up her reasoning for the large addition to their fund, saying they had not seen an increase in over two years. 

Additionally, there was an extra $25,000 given to the Student Life Fund for the finance committee to allocate. Earlier in the year, Travis also put in a request for an extra $50,000. She is hoping they get a good portion of that money, if not all. 

“We have one of the largest club sports organizations in the country, my committee thought (why) not give a decent amount of that to club sports,” Travis said. “They do so many great things for the university, students pay so much money to do a club sport, and by giving club sports more money it’s going to reduce the student cost to do a club sport and reduce some of the barriers students face.”

Some senators were curious as to where the funds would go, but Travis assured them she would recommend to Eric Garvelink, the club sports coordinator, use the money to help pay toward student fees. 

 After more discussion and amendments made to the motion, the motion Gibbs proposed did not pass and the original budget still stood. 

The funding for media was also significantly increased, from $65,000 to $80,000. The money is split between GVSU’s radio station The Whale, the TV station GVTV and the newspaper, The Lanthorn. 

Other categories seeing an increase in their money is the interfaith fund from $8,000 to $10,000, the special interest fund from $35,000 to $45,000, recreation sports from $4,000 to $6,000 and the travel fund from $77,000 to $79,500. 

Since some funds are seeing an increase, that means there will need to be a decrease in other funds. The biggest decrease will come from the service and advocacy fund, where it will go from $59,000 to $34,000. In the document Travis provided, the rationale for this was because during the 2016-17 year, there was only $23,000 of their $59,000 budget. 

Other categories seeing a decrease are the cultural fund from $90,000 to $80,000, the performing arts fund from $15,000 to $10,500, Creation Station from $10,000 to $7,500, and honorary fund from $4,000 to $500.

Campus programming categories includes the academic and professional fund, club sports, cultural, honorary, interfaith, performing arts, service and advocacy, special interest, Greek Life Council and recreation sports. The travel category funds all travel requests. The other category includes the funds for media, Spotlight, Transitions, Creation Station, President’s Ball, sustainability and community development initiative, student senate internal operating budget, Orgsync and media services.