Every year, each Butler University student pays about $288 in student activity fees.
Every year, about $180 of those fees go to Student Government Association.
And every year, SGA’s executive board and SGA representatives are faced with the task of using those funds to engage students with programs that are both beneficial and utilized.
This year, SGA is working with a budget of $703,752—or about $178 for each of the 3,953 students who pay student activity fees.
Over the summer, members said they looked at last year’s budget to see which activities or line items work and which have room to be changed, according to cost and benefit to the community.
“If an organization wants to do more stuff, the budget will reflect it,” Dan Schramm, SGA vice president for finance, said. “At the same time, if they find something that didn’t really work, the budget will also reflect that.”
While $703,752 may sound like a large amount of money, SGA President Al Carroll said he intends to oversee an assembly that uses all of that money wisely during the year.
“You should be seeing $700,000 worth of programming on campus throughout the year,” Carroll said. “That should happen, and if it’s not happening, we’re not doing our jobs right.”
The largest portion of the budget—$379,500, or about $96 per student—goes to fund Program Board, an operating board under the SGA umbrella that oversees organizations like films committee, concerts committee and late-night programming. Program Board works to create programs that will engage and entertain members of the student body.
Carroll said that once SGA has planned an event, advertised it and encouraged students to participate, the responsibility falls on the student.
“Everything that SGA does, you have an impact on it, so you should want to get your money’s worth,” Carroll said. “There are a lot of people that pay for these events, and they just don’t go.”
Money to cover SGA expenses—including the first six weeks of programming, executive board stipends and the presidential initiative—makes up $115,957 of the budget.
In the Sept. 14 assembly meeting, members raised questions regarding the $8,000 budgeted for executive board stipends. The six vice presidents of SGA, the president and the parliamentarian each receive compensation for serving the year in that position.
“I don’t understand why you guys are being paid to do work that I feel anyone in the room could do,” senior Chris Beaman said.
Council on Presidential Affairs Chair Mike Tirman said that the time and effort put into the organization could potentially take away from the opportunity of having a part-time job.
“I spend eight hours a day working on CPA stuff, whether it be in meetings, talking with people about their concerns or planning events,” Tirman said “I do not think that the stipend is unnecessary.”
The $14,000 budgeted for the presidential initiative is money that the president can use to fund special projects on campus.
At the same meeting, Carroll said that his presidential initiative fund would go toward more diversity programs on campus.
“It gives me an opportunity to highlight that program,” Carroll said.
The largest portion of the SGA expenses budget funds the operation of the SGA shuttles that run every weekend and to the airport for breaks.
“The shuttle is something that is very beneficial to the student body,” Carroll said. “We are offering something that could appeal to just about every member of the student body.”
The $35,800 put into the miscellaneous budget currently funds the taxi service at the HRC, the readership program and the volunteerism budget—a budget that doubled with a vote on Sept. 21.
An item added to this year’s budget is funding to cut costs of any basketball trips that SGA would offer students. Last year, SGA was able to offer a limited number of spots for students to attend the NCAA Men’s Final Four games in Houston. The cost to each student was around $100. SGA footed the rest of the bill, which averaged about $150 per student.
“That was one event that if you attended, you would have had your money back in one time,” Carroll said. “One event.”
It was noted at the Sept. 14 assembly that this added budget wouldn’t completely cover the costs of the trips, but it would help cut the costs.
“We never expected these costs last year,” SGA for operations Kelsa Reynolds said at the meeting. “By adding this in, we know we have some money set aside in case we need it.”
While everything in the budget has been voted on and approved, assembly members can make amendments to the budget at any time.