Clubs applying for their budgets this semester will be introduced to draft budgets and Campusvine, an upgraded version of Allocate, Undergraduate Student Government Treasurer Thomas Kirnbauer announced Saturday.
Because of the two changes, the budget allocation process will look significantly different this year than in years past.
Kirnbauer told a Student Activities Center auditorium half-full of club officers that the new processes would give them “more of an opportunity to have [their voices] heard.”
First, Kirnbauer explained, clubs will submit a spreadsheet containing a detailed account of how much money they’ll need for the next academic year and how they intend to spend it. They’ll then receive a draft budget from the treasurer’s office in mid-March.
That process used to take place at the budget hearings. This year, the hearings will be used as a forum to discuss the draft budgets.
“By no means is it going to be the final budget that you’re going to be getting at the end of the year,” Kirnbauer said of the draft budgets. He indicated USG would be open to hearing clubs’ concerns and that clubs would be more aware of what their 2012-2013 budgets will be before they are announced.
“It’s not going to be a surprise to anyone at the end of the year,” he said.
He did, however, warn clubs that USG is “on a restrictive budget of three million dollars.”
“That we gave you,” quipped a student in the crowd.
But skepticism quickly turned to excitement when Allocate creator and Stony Brook alumnus Alex Dimitriyadi took the stage to introduce Campusvine, a drastic improvement on his original budget allocation software.
“Over the last year and a half now, we’ve been getting feedback anecdotally,” said Dimitriyadi, acknowledging the complaints the software had inspired. He also launched a survey on Allocate to learn what club officers most wanted from the site.
The results were displayed in word cloud for the club officers before Dimitriyadi went on to explain how the features would be incorporated into Campusvine.
It became clear that the software would be different from Allocate as soon as Dimitriyadi logged into the demo.
Campusvine features a dashboard with regular updates on vouchers and other notifications visible on the home page. A messaging feature in which club members could contact each other through Campusvine is included, as well. Club officers will also have access to a list of approved vendors and will be able to choose which email address notifications are sent to.
Josh Graham, the president of the bowling club on campus, has been through budget allocations before and he had struggled with Allocate.
“The budget isn’t there. They never update it, never tell you how much money they have left,” he said.
With Campusvine, that will change. There is a new tool that will allow officers to see how much of their budget has been spent and how much has been allocated and is awaiting USG approval.
“As you have more and more events, you can see how much money you have left and budget appropriately,” said Dimitriyadi when introducing the feature.
“I like it, actually. I’ll have see how it goes,” said Graham of the tool. He described the meeting as yet another success for USG.
“Every year they seem to do something to help out clubs a little bit,” he said.
The seminar went so well there was even a small miracle at the end.
“This is one of the most convincing USG events I’ve ever been to,” said Krissy Agathos, a WUSB host and student activist known as a harsh critic to everything USG does. “They’re finally doing stuff right,” she said.