Student organizations left waiting weeks for Student Government budget approvals

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The main reason behind the delay in approving the club budgets were the obstacles created by the pandemic (Photo by Pierson White ’24).

Michael Antonacci

Leaders of student organizations were left scratching their heads at the beginning of the semester, wondering when they would receive confirmation of their annual budgets. While annual budgets are traditionally finalized over the summer, this year’s process dragged on into the opening weeks of this semester, placing some club sports in jeopardy of losing spots in tournaments. 

The issue is expected to be resolved soon, but several organizations have already been affected. In those cases, club activities have been curtailed due to the lack of funding.

Elise Hummel ‘22, co-captain and president of club rugby, described the impact the delay had on her sport.

“I personally have not received the formal approval yet, but we know that it’s coming,” Hummel said. “Because we’re such a contact-heavy sport, we’re not allowed to practice without insurance. We can’t purchase insurance if we don’t have money.” 

Hummel said that the lack of insurance severely hurts the team’s ability to adequately prepare for its upcoming season.

“We have our first game this Saturday and really haven’t had any contact practices yet,” Hummel said. “We’re definitely a leg behind and have our work cut out for us this week to make sure we’re prepared for Saturday.”

The Student Government’s Budget Committee is responsible for allocating funds and finalizing budgets for all student clubs and organizations. Student organizations are allocated annual budgets for any expenses they expect to incur, subject to Student Government guidelines. Typical expenses include equipment, travel and food. Clubs are also able to submit program requests for unanticipated expenses as long as they do so at least two weeks in advance of the event.

Extraordinary circumstances were the principal cause of the delays, Student Government Treasurer Michael Butler ‘22 indicated, and added that this decision was made by the outgoing treasurer from last academic year.

“Normally we would do budgets at the tail end of the previous year,” Butler explained. “But with Covid and some people off campus, we didn’t get around to it.” 

Butler said that the five-person Budget Committee held its first meeting a week before the semester began, months later than it normally would. He said that there would normally be a better transition between outgoing and incoming treasurers, but COVID-19 concerns between the spring 2021 and fall 2021 semesters have presented unique challenges. 

“We want to get to a point in a few weeks where everyone is back on schedule,” Butler said.

Finalized budgets should be expected within the next week.

Kelly Deemer, administrative assistant of Student Involvement and head of budgets of all sports clubs and student organizations, and Vanessa Pearson, director of Student Involvement, both declined to comment and directed The Lafayette to Student Government.

Disclaimer: Editor-in-chief Lucie Lagodich ’22 is an executive director on Student Government.