SGA adjusts FY21 budget due to COVID-19

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Graphic by Kierra Frazier

Ashley Dwy, Reporter

DeKALB –The Student Government Association received a $253,245.20 budget cut for the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the SGA’s adjusted annual budget.

The current budget is $1,012,980.80, compared to the original $1,266,226, and this has been in progress since SGA put together their original budget in April. SGA worked with the administration to adjust the original budget due to the economic fallout happening with the pandemic, Speaker of the Senate Brad Beyer said.

“In June, the Board of Trustees voted on the preliminary internal operating budget for the university,” Beyer said. “Within that budget, we had to reduce the student activity fee by 20%.”

The Board of Trustees voted for the student activity fee based on 80% of the projected credit of enrollment for Fall 2020, Beyer said. 

The student activity fee goes to the university services, such as campus childcare, Campus Activities Board, student legal assistance, the Recreation and Wellness Center and SGA’s military services, Treasurer Devohn Hall said.

For example, if the Recreation Center needed new equipment, the SGA could help fund those resources, Hall said. 

Established student organizations, or student organizations that have already asked SGA for money and have a relationship with SGA already, are allocated $600 upfront. New organizations that have recently been recognized, or it is their first time asking for funds, are allocated $200.

Model UN is an established organization. Ches Thurber, the advisor for Model UN, said the budget cut would not affect their organization.

“For our club, an allocation of $600 is within the range of what we have received previously from the SGA,” Thurber said. “Our anticipated expenses vary between $400-$1200.”

SGA expected demands for travel-related expenses and in-person conference expenses to fall due to COVID-19, Beyer said.

Model UN’s competition, normally held in Chicago, is now being held virtually, Thurber said.

Student organizations can request executive allocations or supplemental funding if more money is needed.

SGA can give out $58,267 in executive allocations, according to the adjusted annual budget.

Student organizations can sign up for executive allocations if costs for conference or competition expenses, including but not limited to registration fees, lodging, food or other expenses related to attending or hosting conferences and attending or hosting competition needs to be covered. This is a discretionary fund managed by the president of SGA and can be requested by any organization, except for individual Greek organizations.

SGA can also give out $24,000 in supplemental funding, according to SGA’s FY21 adjusted annual budget.

Supplemental funding is used for emergency instances, a one-time expenditure or unique and unexpected instances where lack of the specific service or equipment could cause the organization immeasurable harm, according to the supplemental funding document.

Hall is organizing a budget workshop for student organizations to go to and learn how to request funds. For more information, email him at dhall3@niu.edu.