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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Campus briefing: limited USG funding causes club to consider forfeiting budget

Every year, ASBO travels to a different state to help a community through either disaster relief or start-up projects. (PHOTO CREDIT: COMMUNITY OF AWESOME)
The Alternative Spring Break Outreach program at Stony Brook may decide to forfeit its USG budget this year. (PHOTO CREDIT: COMMUNITY OF AWESOME)

Faced with a limited choice of bus companies imposed by the Undergraduate Student Government’s funding regulations, Alternative Spring Break Outreach (ASBO), a club that organizes community service trips for students during spring break, may decide to forfeit its budget this year.

Though in the past forfeiting a budget for more than a year could render a club ineligible for USG funding, an amendment to the financial bylaws approved by the USG Senate last Thursday would allow ASBO to remain eligible for future funding, provided it continues to hold at least one campus event every semester.

The amendment was one of several changes to the financial bylaws proposed by USG Treasurer Brian McIlvain at last Thursday’s senate meeting.

“If a club has the desire to forfeit their budget for whatever reason, they should not lose all of their standing in USG as a full club,” McIlvain said in an email.

Applying for a budget from USG is currently a two-year process, involving a two-semester probationary period and a yearlong limited funding period before a club becomes fully eligible. Before the amendment, a club would have to re-apply through this process to receive funding.

Emily Torkel, a co-president of ASBO, said she is glad that there is a safety net if the club decides to go off USG funding. “It’s comforting to know we can go back if we want to,” Torkel said.

ASBO has a budget of $4,032.58 from USG. However, that amount is only a fraction of the $30,000 alone it pays to rent the two buses it uses for its trips.

Because the three bus services approved to accept USG funds have left the club “in a bind” for past trips, according to Torkel, forfeiting the club’s budget may make sense.

ASBO lost half of its budget last year after failing to hold a campus event using USG funds, but the club was still able to hold its trips with the help of additional fundraising. Students pay for the majority of the trip’s cost.

Other amendments to the financial bylaws included a way for clubs to loan money from USG for fundraisers, and changes to the availability of USG grant money, which ran out at the end of the fall semester last year, according to McIlvain.

Asset grants, which allow clubs to purchase expensive equipment, will now require a wait period of six semesters between grants for more than $4,000. A hard cap will also come into effect if the total amount awarded in asset grants exceeds 30 percent of the grant fund.

“This is to slow down the flow of asset grants, because they take up a huge chunk [of the budget],” McIlvain said.

The new fundraising loans are a way clubs can get the money they need for large fundraising expenses, like hiring a DJ or ordering t-shirts.

Though the full amount of the loan is due back within four weeks of the fundraiser, borrowing the money would allow clubs to hold fundraisers that may cost more than what is available through their normal budget.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to fundraise  when you have to front the money from your budget in order to increase your budget,” McIlvain said.

Money for loans would be borrowed from the grant fund and limited to $1,000 per loan.

The new financial bylaws were passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate and signed into law last Friday. They will be available in the documents section of the student government website.

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