In order to allow for greater efficiency and confidence in the school’s budgetary processes for clubs, the Student Budget Committee has recently updated their funding system, which includes providing reimbursements through direct deposits. While these changes were intended to make the funding process more accessible, several students noted that the impact has not been as beneficial as they had originally anticipated.
In order to help understand the improvements that have taken place, Chair of the SBC Jigme Tobgyel ’17 first explained the process of how organizations on campus receive funding.
For groups that have become chartered through the processes outlined by the Student Government Organization and the Student Organizations Committee, applying for funding is relatively simple. Organizations seeking reimbursements must attend Spring Budgeting during the Spring semester to plan the necessary budget for the following year, by using subcodes to denote how money will be allocated to different categories, such as transportation or registration fees. After a club proposes their budget, the SBC votes on it, choosing either “yes,” “no,” or “abstain.” Once the proposal receives approval, the club receives their full year budget and becomes eligible for Spring Budgeting for the next year.
If unexpected costs arise, the club can attend supplementary meetings, which occur every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in Sharples Room 4, to propose new allocations.
No significant changes have been made to the general process of receiving annual funding. The integration of the SBC into the Business Office to change the process of funding reimbursements is the biggest modification to the 2016-2017 school year.
Tobgyel called the previous year’s system of providing reimbursements “inconvenient” and “time consuming.”
“So now, if you’ve made a purchase for a club, you’re getting it directly deposited into your bank account, as you are with payroll,” said Tobgyel. “With distributing checks, signing them, and mailing them, it was just a longer and more tedious process.”
As the Chair of the SBC, Tobgyel needs to handle a great deal of paperwork, including materials dealing with cash advances, funding, or reimbursements. The new developments of the SBC should help make the jobs of Tobgyel and other committee members function with a bit more ease.
Despite the intended goals of the SBC’s new system, many students who currently serve as treasurers of different chartered clubs on campus noted that they have not seen a significant improvement in efficiency.
Shuang Guan ’19, the treasurer of the Swarthmore Asian Organization, acknowledged that the SBC’s system can be unclear at times.
“Last time I went to the SBC Office, I was told treasurers can no longer get detailed printouts of their current budget. We can see how much we’ve used and how much we have left total, but that total isn’t broken down into the subcodes in which we applied for during spring budgeting,” said Guan.
Aside from the difficulty of keeping track of how much money is available for different purposes, several students also noted that the stringent budget can sometimes act as a hindrance to an organization’s goals.
“Last year, SBC said it would no longer fund events that were for member bonding, which includes Big Sib Lil Sib events. I think that BSLS Is an important part of SAO that really helps freshmen adjust to Swarthmore, and since it wouldn’t be accessible for everyone to pay out of pocket, it’s unfortunate that we’ve had to cancel somehttp://swarthmorephoenix.com/wp-admin/post-new.php BSLS traditions,” said Guan.
Tobgyel responded to this by saying that, while the SBC does still fund member bonding events, there are more restrictions on the budget as the number of clubs continues to grow.
While the SBC is consistently working to meet the changing needs of different groups on campus, some find that these changes are not as beneficial as hoped.