Butler University’s Student Government Association has spent close to half of its budget at the end of the first semester and plans to spend the remaining money on second semester events, said to SGA President Al Carroll.
SGA is funded through student activity fees, which are $288 per student, and it began the year with a budget of $703,752.
Currently, 45 to 46 percent of the budget has been spent, and SGA intends to spend the remaining money during the second semester.
Dan Schramm, SGA vice president of finance, said he feels there is a good chance SGA will be able to spend the remaining budget.
“It will just come down to a continuous push by the various boards to continue to implement programming for students,” Schramm said.
Some organizations are under budget, while some are over, but the budget typically balances out after the spring semester, Schramm said.
“Any organizations that are over budget are balanced out by using the budget’s cushion [a $10,995 line item],” Schramm said. “Any organizations that are under budget have minimal programming left.”
SGA offers organizations grants, but these organizations must show how they plan to spend their money, Carroll said.
“Once we fund them, it is their responsibility,” Carroll said.
Each co-chair of the six branches must report to Schramm, said to program board director Jon Himes.
This money is used to fund events for students, which is why Carroll believes it would benefit students to attend these events.
“When students don’t attend these events, they’re wasting their own money,” Carroll said.
The program board, one of six SGA branches, received the largest funding, $379,500, and uses this money to host SGA programs.
This is by far the largest due to the “big events” the program board is responsible for, said Carroll.
In the first semester the program board hosted events like the SGA Kickoff event, Homecoming, Coffee House and others.
Student response has been generally positive, said Himes.
“After each event, co-chairs are responsible for filling out event reviews,” Himes said. “I would say students are very satisfied.”
Freshman Levi Wesemann said his favorite SGA event of the first semester was the Fray concert.
“The Fray concert was exhilarating,” Wesemann said. “They put on a good concert, and it was very reasonably priced.”
Himes feels this large sum of money has been spent well to provide students with quality entertainment during the first semester.
“We are trying to feature the best programs while keeping in mind our limited budget,” Himes said.
The SGA plans to host more events in the second semester, including Dance Marathon, Spring Sports Spectacular and Exam Jam, said Himes.
Some of these events, like Dance Marathon and Spring Sports Spectacular, are philanthropic, said PuLSE office Director Caroline Huck-Watson
Carroll is most looking forward to spring elections, something he hopes students become more involved with.
“I hope students are a part of it,” Carroll said. “They are directly affected by who’s in charge.”
Also, with the Super Bowl being held in Indianapolis, the SGA has reserved transportation to allow students to participate in Super Bowl events downtown.
SGA has also offered students tickets to four different dates of a Jimmy Fallon show, which is the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
This year is unique in that it is the first year the SGA will budget for next year’s administration, said Carroll.
“We may budget for $700,000, but only plan to spend $650,000,” Carroll said. “This will allow next year’s administration more of a cushion for people to choose what they want to do.”
Carroll hopes this will provide the new administration more time to plan events over the summer, allowing for better programming.
Carroll also hopes this will increase student involvement, since in the past the SGA board would vote on the budget at the beginning of the school year.
“I don’t like to see a board of eight people deciding what’s best for students,” Carroll said.
Himes feels this new budgeting process will not greatly affect the program board, but agrees it will help with events like the Fall Concert.
“In the past, SGA would only have about a month to plan the Fall Concert,” Himes said. “Under the new system, they will have all summer to know what their budget is.”
Himes also said that he is always looking for “new” and “creative” ideas for events for students.
The second semester budget is not “set in stone,” said Carroll, and can be changed via an amendment, but these are rare.