The Student Activity Fee Board voted Friday to approve a budget proposal to benefit the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments.
The majority vote of 8-3-1 confirms the SAFB’s official recommendation to Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims to provide CCSG with $14,800 in funding from University Park SAF resources.
The proposal involves a three-pronged approach to finance CCSG, with money coming from University Park student activity fees, Commonwealth Campus student activity fees and central administration.
Of the 12 voting members of the board, University Park Undergraduate Association representatives Spencer Malloy and Courtney Lennartz, along with Senior Director of Union and Student Activities Mary Edgington, all voted against the proposal, and Graduate Student Association representative Wanika Fisher abstained from voting.
The main concerns raised by Fisher, Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration) and Malloy (senior-agroecology and philosophy) involved the sources of the funding and the proportion of the funding coming from each of these sources.
“Looking at the total amount requested and where you’re getting it from, you’re only asking for $20,500 from the Commonwealth campuses, but you’re representing so many Commonwealth Campus students, while asking for $14,800 from the University Park campus,” Lennartz said.
GSA President Fisher also expressed concerns. She said she was not only in agreement that the proportion of funds requested from University Park was too high, but also stated that she was opposed to a portion of the budget coming from main administration.
But CCSG President Ben Clark said the money requested from University Park will be used to benefit the University Park student body.
The $14,800 will go toward paying $800 for office supplies, $3,500 for retreats, $3,500 for summer leadership training, $2,500 for mid-year report and $1,500 for promoting Capital Day, along with a $3,000 discretionary portion, Andrea Dowhower, assistant vice president of student affairs, said via email.
“This is a show cause budget and not an actual expense,” Dowhower said, adding that this year’s proposal is a larger sum than previous allocations.
But she said she did not have access to past years’ figures, as of press time Sunday.
In response to the proposal, the UPUA representatives proposed that a larger percent of SAF funding for CCSG come from the Commonwealth Campuses. Ultimately, they were overruled.
“I have to say, after reviewing it a million times, I feel we’re being as fair as we can be,” Director of Student Affairs at Penn State Dubois Rebecca Pennington said.
Clark agreed, elaborating on the accommodations that had been made since the budget proposal was first introduced.
“We’ve had three subcommittee meetings, and the proposal has changed after each based on the conversation that has occurred to try to accommodate everyone in the room as best as we could,” Clark (senior-accounting) said.
The most recent change since the last subcommittee meeting was a reduction in the money requested from University Park SAF funds from $16,800 to $14,800.
Also noted were the restrictions that will be placed on the money received from each “prong.” The rules associated with spending of University Park SAF funds, Commonwealth Campus SAF funds and funding from the main administration will all be abided by.
The use of the money received by CCSG from University Park SAF funds will also be audited, and any money that is not spent will be returned to the funding sources.
CCSG’s yearly budget has experienced significant fluctuation from year to year, depending on how much funding it is able to obtain. This year, its budget is $25,000, CCSG Chief of Staff and Financial Manager Richard Beyers said.
Whether CCSG receives the money requested from University Park SAF funds now depends on whether Sims chooses to follow the SAFB’s recommendation.
The Student Activity Fee Board Handbook currently suggests that in 2012 CCSG receive a standing lump sum allocation of $36,528.29 to remain the same for three years. The handbook consists only of SAFB recommendations, with the implementation of its policies left to the discretion of the main administration.
As a result, this suggestion was never implemented. The money that CCSG does receive currently comes through Sims and Vice President for Penn State Commonwealth Campuses Madlyn Hanes, Beyers (junior-psychology and international politics) said.
CCSG was scheduled to hold its first council weekend of the semester this past weekend, but it was canceled due to inclement weather.