New year, new ASSMU, new budget

Bethany Montgomery, Staff Writer

 

Outlets like the Belltower serve as a platform for and by students to express our beliefs, passions, and concerns to our community and the public. The Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University (ASSMU) also provides a platform for students to express concerns, form clubs, and improve student experiences. Part of this service is to provide the clubs on campus with funding each semester to run effectively and efficiently. As for the funding, ASSMU’s yearly budget is directly sourced by the student activities fee included in tuition costs. Student-organized clubs are able to receive funding from ASSMU by presenting budget requests at the beginning of the year. Conner Snow, Executive Treasurer of ASSMU, explained this process. 

With over 35 clubs this semester, ASSMU cannot feasibly grant all budget requests in full, but the finance committee is able to make across the board budget decisions based on the data collected from analyzing each club’s request. Snow further explained that the finance committee is comprised of a few senators heading a variety of interest groups across campus, with himself as chair. Having key senators from such a broad group enables any financial decision to include input from all perspectives. After contacting the clubs with the committee’s final recommendations, clubs have the option to appeal their budget or approve the budget as it stands. All appeals are submitted early and then addressed at the next meeting.  This year, they only received six. ASSMU has made significant improvements streamlining this process, motioning all approved clubs, and dealing with appeals in one meeting, as opposed to the grueling eight weeks this exact procedure took last year. Snow explained,

“So far we’re getting pretty good feedback in terms of people liking the new process. We’ve sent templates of the excel sheet that you need.”  

When asked about how ASSMU plans on dealing with clubs who intentionally over-budget to combat cuts, Snow described the difficulty in measuring this, but noted that this standardizing has made it easier to judge. 

“A lot of the clubs have sent in their rosters and stuff so you can kind of equate. You have 10 people and you’re ordering 60 pizzas for one meeting?” 

He said jokingly. However, given the amount of potential conflict that can arise from budget cuts, ASSMU is carefully trying to avoid over or under granting funds to anyone. 

“Our goal is to make as many people happy with their budget as possible, so if we know the general scope of ‘this is what we need’ in order to be on budget, we kind of work from there,” Snow emphasized.

ASSMU’s budget is not only held for clubs. 

“This year, there’s going to be a bigger focus on senators coming up with different resolutions. These are things they can present not only to the student body but also the school board.” The goal, he described, is to have a constant stream of ideas to present to the board as opposed to the two that ASSMU presented last year at the end of the year. 

“That way there’s more of a chance that something gets done.” 

When presenting student needs to the board, Snow emphasized ASSMU’s desire to turn these complaints and issues in to a fixable problem. “A complaint in the form of solution,” said Snow.

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