By Amanda Weber and Felicia Smolen
Assistant News Editor and Griffin Reporter
An integral part of every college, including Canisius, is the clubs and organizations in which students can get involved. According to their website, Canisius College has over 100 clubs to choose from and students can pick ones from a wide variety of areas and interests. Although this may not be what a student thinks of at first sight, clubs do need financial resources and funds in order to run. In order to accomplish this task, each club or organization that receives funding has a budget that serves as their guideline for how to spend money over the course of the year. This year, however, Student Life and the Finance Board have worked hard to present a new and innovative budget plan for clubs.
This new budgeting plan has made some significant changes as to how clubs will operate. In the past, clubs had to present the entire budget that they wanted for the semester. Then, it became the job of the Finance Board to decide whether the budget was reasonable and whether or not to accept it. Now, the Committee presents each club or organization with a sum of money at the beginning of the school year. It is now up to the club’s or organization’s leaders to decide how to spend this money, and to which areas of the club they should allocate these financial resources. Although this money is still subject to certain guidelines, Jeff Spencer ‘17 of the Finance Board expects this to be a positive change for Canisius.
“From what I’ve seen, club leaders are spending less time worrying about their budgets and more time planning events with their clubs,” said Spencer. “I think that is a good thing.”
Another aspect of this budgeting plan is that clubs are welcome to submit appeals if they feel that they need additional funding. However, there is a process that an organization would have to go through in order to make an appeal. According to Spencer, if a club wants their request to be looked at that particular week, the request must be submitted on GriffLink by Wednesday at 5p.m. Then, at the Finance Board meeting on the following day at 8p.m., member of Finance Board will be review it. A club leader or representative is expected to attend that meeting. If the Finance Board approves this, it will then be sent on to be reviewed by the Senate during their Tuesday meeting. Although there is still a process involved, Spencer claims this makes it easier for both those involved with Finance Board and the leaders of organizations.
“It just simplifies and smoothens the process for everyone involved,” said Spencer. “From the club leader to every member of the Finance Board, we stripped away unnecessary work for everyone who touched the process.”
In addition to the Finance Board and Student Life, there is another important part to this new process: the clubs and organizations themselves. One particular club that anticipates positive effects for this new budgeting plan is Little Theatre. According to their Facebook Page, “The Canisius College Little Theatre is an open club that performs three plays, one musical, and two variety shows throughout the school year.” The President of Little Theatre, Callie Keavey ‘18, anticipates that this new plan will offer a great opportunity and provide the club with more autonomy in their decision-making.
“These changes give us the opportunity to use our budget as we see fit,” said Keavey. “We don’t have to budget for every piece of wood or pair of shoes anymore. It allows us to function more like a real theatre.”
Another organization, Project Conservation, is led by Co-Presidents Daniel Ortega ‘17 and Christina Estimé ‘17. According to their page on GriffLink, the purpose and goal of the club is to raise and promote awareness on campus of environmental issues. Project Conservation encourages students to use more sustainable resources and creates activities so students can be more aware of the large impact they are having on our world today.
“I anticipate both positive and negative effects,” said Ortega. “It’s positive because it gives clubs the opportunity to spend the money the best way they see fit, without having to plan their events too far in advance. I also anticipate it to be negative because some clubs probably want more money or don’t like the new tier system.”
Estimé agreed and said, “I can definitely see the pros and cons to this. I think the negatives are limited because of the ability to appeal, but I can also see some reservations coming from clubs in terms of the initial allocation as well as the tier system.”
Despite a few appeals so far, Spencer noted that the feedback he has received so far has been mostly positive. Club leaders seem to be enjoying the idea of being more independent from the Finance Board and having the opportunity to allocate their money to where they desire. This process allows these clubs to decide where the money will go throughout the semester, and will make it easier for clubs who have hiccups throughout the semester to appeal. However, Spencer also commented that club leaders need to be aware that this money can run out and needs to last.
“I would ask that club members remember that there is a finite amount of money to go around,” said Spencer. “We have a set amount of money set aside to provide for appeals over the course of the year and we need to make sure it lasts well into the spring semester.”
So far, the new budgeting plan has been a positive development for both clubs and the Finance Board. The large amount of stress has been lifted from these groups and both are able to focus on other things that benefit Canisius.