October 24, 2017

Webster SGA falls short on funds for 2016-2017 school year

Student Government Association (SGA) had to stop distributing funds to student clubs and organizations this semester because the student grant fund account ran out of money.

SGA allocates money into the fund once a year. For this year, SGA was able to allocate $35,000. The fund’s money goes toward students attending conferences, meetings and professional development activities—any activity in which students can learn from outside the classroom. Graduate and undergraduate students who are enrolled at Webster University can receive money from the student grant fund.

Director of Student Engagement and SGA adviser Jennifer Stewart said it is actually a good thing that the grant fund ran out of money this year.

“It means that many clubs and organizations applied for it, and it also means that the students used up all the money that was given to them for the academic year,” Stewart said.

Stewart said from her time working with SGA, the student grant fund amount rose from $20,000 to the current $35,000. She said that last year, there were unused funds left over at the end of the academic school year.

“The goal is to allocate enough that will get used, but not too much that it keeps the funds from being used elsewhere and remains sitting unused,” Stewart said.

SGA ran out of funds around the end of March. Stewart said the timing was appropriate because the semester was almost over. Although not the case for this year, if any student grant fund was not used completely by the end of a school year, the remainder will go back to SGA to redistribute the next school year.

Chainlink Improv was one of the last groups to receive funding from SGA this year. The group went to The Second City in Chicago to see professionals improv performances on March 24-26. It was funded by the SGA student grant fund.

Chainlink Improv took 16 members to Chicago for two nights. Each member received $130 to cover transportation, one meal, parking, the hotel and tickets to the event.

President Morgan Rabe is the only president of Chainlink Improv to have planned a trip.

“Before this trip, Chainlink has never did anything like this so I was able to,” Rabe said. “I found out that this was a possibility, and the moment I found out, I was like ‘I’m going forward with it.’”

Students can request up to $350 per person, and a group of six to 20 people can request up to the maximum total amount, which is $2,100 for the entire group. However, groups of 20 or more can request up to $2,800.

SGA receives its money from two sources: the operating budget of Webster University and a portion of the student activity fee. The student activity fee is $100 per person, and it is a flat fee that is split three ways between Campus Activities, Multicultural and International Student Affairs (MCISA) and SGA. The student activity fee is charged each Fall and Spring semester to full-time flat-fee undergraduates.

Similar to the student grant fund, programming pool is another fund that SGA allocates for in the beginning of the school year. It is intended for large-scale events that cost more than the student clubs’ semester budget allows for. Throughout the programming pool, more money can be distributed when two or more groups collaborate on an event. The groups can receive up to $2,000 each, with the maximum being $6,000 total for an event.

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