Do what you can with what little you have

Nick Morelli
Opinion Contributor

Clubs have been a big part of the Canisius experience for many students on and off campus. From Welcome Week to Griff Fest, club activities and events are a great opportunity to get involved in the Canisius community. Whether it’s making PB&J sandwiches with Commuter Student Association, winning your 3rd round of Grocery Bingo with RHA, or going head to head in Super Smash Bros with the Fusion Gaming Society – clubs here do their best to make themselves known to the public and organize events that generate interests to the wide spectrum of participants.

  Unfortunately for some, a lot of what a club can do is dependent on the budget they are allotted each semester. While there are a number of factors that go into budgeting for a club including number of organized events, past documentation etc, it seems as though with the recent Fall Budget Allocation, several clubs were cut short with what they were given.

There were several ways to look at how money was distributed through each student organization. In regard to how much each club requested for the semester, some clubs, including Habitat for Humanity and Project Conservation, received 100 percent of their requested budget although each only received around $950. On the other hand, Anime Club and Canisius Zoological Society received roughly 25-35 percent of what each requested, yet these resulted in drastically different budgets.

When comparing the individually allocated budgets with the total amount of money distributed, 97 percent of clubs each received less than two percent of the overall budget. The majority (55.07 percent) of the budget was given to the Student Programming Board. While this article is in no way targeting or trying to call out SPB or their contribution to the College, I’m interested to know what condones this radically biased distribution of money in their favor. Because SPB is in fact a council of USA and not a club organization, they are funded accordingly and are able to put on many popular events on campus (Griff Flix being my personal favorite). Yet when some of their events welcome the visit of less than 30 participants it seems as though the money spent could have been used more efficiently for a different club event. Meanwhile, other clubs such as Global Horizons, which put on the “Make Your Own Sushi” event which had many attendants despite them working with a fraction of $1,400. While this seems like a lot of money for only a couple of events, compared to SPB’s $200,000 budget, the possibilities are mildly restricted to what they can do as a club.

There’s definitely a set procedure as to how club budget is allocated. Jessica Dieter, Vice President for Business & Finance for the Undergraduate Student Association says “We have a set of guidelines” when asked how club money is distributed. After discussing the clubs that received a small percentage of their requested budget, Jessica says “If we (USA) can’t allocate the funding a club requested, we recommend that club appeal for extra funding.” USA is definitely mindful of clubs asking for more funding when allocating for each semester, especially when a club comes up with a new event they want to host that was not included in the budget. “It all depends on documentation.”

Despite this, there has been a lot of debate about how club budget is distributed both within club boards and in the overall campus community. And of course with each club there’s bound to be different opinions on how club budget should be handled. “I do think there needs to be change on how the budget is reviewed” said Paula Uruburok, President of Unity, the Gay-Straight Alliance on campus. She discussed how much of what is considered for a club’s budget is dependent on documentation of past expenses. “The clubs here are very active and there needs to be a clear example of what documentation is supposed to be for these clubs.” Obviously, with the growing population of the students here on campus, many want to be included in clubs of shared interest. I feel it’s appropriate to factor in a club’s growing general body when considering their allocation.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to boycott every SPB event (and neither should you!), nor am I begging for Canisius to shell out more money at the expense of student tuition. But re-evaluating how money is distributed between each campus organization seems like it should be considered in the future. Factoring in the service component that each club brings to the campus community seems like a fair way to share the campus funds or possibly considering the general interest of the students on campus. These opinions can be argued and debated until we all become alumni, and probably will be. For now it’s best for each club to do the best with the budget they have for the remaining of the semester and do their best on budgeting for the next one.

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