Student senate sets 2018-19 budget

GVL / Sheila Babbitt
The Sudent Senate holds a meeting to elect new officers on April 5th, 2018. Voting will commence next week for the new Vice Presidents of the committees.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt The Sudent Senate holds a meeting to elect new officers on April 5th, 2018. Voting will commence next week for the new Vice Presidents of the committees.

Arpan Lobo

Grand Valley State University’s student senate has set the university’s 2018-19 Student Life Fund. The fund jumps from $1.07 million for fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 to just below $1.1 million for FY 2018-19.

Club sports once again received the largest increase in allocations for the coming academic year, increasing from $425,000 to $440,000. Senate finance chair Carly Aller explained that the bump in allocations is meant to benefit students who participate in club sports at GVSU. An increase in the amount of money senate dispenses to club sports means less money has to be paid in dues by club athletes. This money is typically spent on equipment and leases for off-campus venues where certain sports take place. 

This increase is similar to the one that took place in 2017, when senate increased club sports’ allocation from $396,000 to $425,000.

Other increases include the reinsertion of the Greek Life Council. The council, which had been folded into senate after the 2015-16 school year, was reinserted for 2018-19 with an allocation of $14,500. Its purpose is to coordinate Greek life activities at GVSU, such as Greek Week and Lipsync. 

The student media budget at GVSU, which funds the Grand Valley Lanthorn, Grand Valley Television (GVTV) and WCKS The Whale increased from $80,000 to $89,200.

The travel fund designated for student organizations increased from $79,500 to $85,300. Aller explained that “the volume of travel requests has been increasing for years.”

Councils and subgroups receive increases or decreases in funding based on the amount of money used during a fiscal year. If one category of student life is requesting additional funding for projects, while another is not using its total allocation, money can be shifted accordingly. Senate also has a reserve fund if groups use up their total allocation.

Notable decreases in funding include the Laker Traditions allocation dropping from $40,000 to $33,000. The drop in allocations can be attributed to Battle of the Valleys, the university’s annual charity competition with rival Saginaw Valley State University, being shifted from a collaboration between Laker Traditions and student senate to a solely senate-operated promotion. 

According to Aller, this resulted in the student senate internal operating budget being increased from $20,000 to $22,000.

Spotlight Productions, the organization responsible for events like the spring concert, saw its budget decrease from $170,000 to $160,000. However, Aller said that the organization has a reserve of $50,000 stemming from the cancellation of the 2017 spring concert.

Senate president-elect Rachel Jenkin believes the budget reflects the time and effort of Aller and the finance committee.

“(The) decisions that were made were based on use or the lack of requests coming from certain organizations in their field,” Jenkin said. “It’s all really based on the usage from these organizations.

“Carly lives, breathes, and eats finance and the allocation of these monies. There’s definitely countless hours put into making up the budget. (She) and her committee did a great job really taking into account all the requests from this past year. Not just this year, but really looking at things holistically and from years past.”

Aller will be replaced by Amanda Crawford as vice president of finance for the 2018-19 school year.