Student organization funding tapped out

Travis Perry

While many were expecting it to happen yet again this year, few were ready for it to happen so early in the second semester.

Funding for student organizations has effectively dried up.

Although this issue occurred last spring, it was much later in the semester. This time around, some student organizations may be left with empty pockets in terms of funding their events.

“I just feel bad about it,” said R.J. McGuire, Washburn Student Government Association senator and member of the allocations committee, responsible for divvying up student organization funding. “Unfortunately, that means that it’s very likely that no more student orgs will be able to receive assistance from WSGA for the rest of the fiscal year, unless we can come up with something, whether that be making some changes to the budget or something else.”

In technical terms, the issue lies in the fact that all the money in the account has been allocated, but not necessarily spent. So if organizations that have already received funding use less than the amount they were given, it is possible that more funding will be freed for use by other organizations. As with last year, any additional requests will be handled on a first come, first serve basis.

Whitney Philippi, WSGA president, said a big factor in this was the drop in enrollment, and subsequently any revenue generated from student activity fees.

“I think it’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality,” said Philippi. “There’s just limited amounts of funding, and to be sure you get those funds, you have to get your requests in early.” Philippi added that she thought the allocations had done a good job in being frugal with available funds.

McGuire believed the lack of funding was because of a slightly different cause, specifically in terms of different senators’ goals for WSGA. McGuire said he believed WSGA existed to help student organizations attain their goals, while others on senate see WSGA as a driving force behind academics and entertainment on campus. In the end, though, McGuire believed the root cause was organizations fearing funding would run out, and subsequently submitting funding requests earlier in the semester.

“Basically, [student organizations are] just going to have to wait and see if they get funding, or they may not get it at all,” said Philippi.

McGuire said that while nothing is in motion at the moment, the idea of increasing the student activity fee yet again had been floating around the Senate. It had popped up earlier, but eventually lost momentum because of the struggling economy. Yet with the lack of funding for student organizations, McGuire said it is a topic that might be revived. In the end, he said this is something he greatly opposes, and he encourages students and student organization presidents to speak with a member of the senate about their opinion of a potential fee hike.