This year’s Undergraduate Student Government budget has shown a relinquishing of the budget cuts that consumed almost every club during last year’s budget allocating.
Almost every club received a small increase in their funding, while some, like the Fine Arts Organization and the Japanese Student Organization, received double the amount of the previous year’s allocation.
There were, however, some notable exceptions to the increased funding. A number of religious organizations—Catholic Campus Club, Gospel Choir, Hillel, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Intervarsity—all received a decreased amount in comparison to last year’s budget.
The political clubs also saw a change with the College Republicans shrinking from $15,070 in the 2011-2012 academic year to $8,384 for 2012-2013. Interestingly, they still received more than the College Democrat’s $7,500 budget.
Another development was the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual Alliance’s budget increase. In the drastic 2011-2012 budget cuts that consumed almost every club, aside from the Student Activities Board, the LGBTA dropped from $13,500 to $8,489.
According to the LGBTA’s secretary, Nolan Theodore, the club was “not able to function to our optimum level this year” due to the budget cuts and a speaker cap that has since been repealed.
Thomas Kirnbauer, the 2011-2012 USG treasurer, said that the reason for some of the decreases in funding was the fact that 15 clubs did not send in their budget applications, even when the deadline was extended. As a result, any club that wanted to apply for funding in the Spring could only receive 66 percent of the previous year’s budget.
“If a club doesn’t apply in Spring, then we don’t want to reward them when they apply later,” Kirnbauer said when explaining the law.
There is also the option of event grants, an opportunity for event funding that was provided after last year’s budget cuts. Of course, any organization that does not host events cannot apply for this extra funding.
Kirnbauer’s successor, Allen Abraham, said in an email that the process of applying for funding would be simplified when he takes over office.
“By remedying certain problems with the budget I meant that I want to make the process fairer and simpler,” said Abraham. “I will talk with club leaders next year to see where they face difficulty and look into ways to simplify the process.”
Abraham also mentioned that it is not fair to say what clubs deserve the most revision and that the process of allocation depends on who is eligible and who actually applies.
One organization that has undergone much scrutiny is the Student Activities Board, a USG agency that is in charge of providing on-campus entertainment as well as organizing events like Roth Regatta and Wiz Khalifa concert.
In the last budget, SAB received $534,887, the largest allocation of funds to any club. There were rumors circulating that $100,000 of the SAB budget was not spent, but according to Kirnbauer “there was a huge misconception,” and the rumors were unsubstantiated.
He did mention, however, that SAB had a few issues with booking artists to come out to Stony Brook and perform.
“The biggest problem is definitely the athletics arena,” said Kirnbauer when describing the difficulties with booking talent. “We have to book a year in advance, we only get one day for prep and one day for pack-down. It’s hard to find big names to perform on specific dates.”
He also mentioned that SAB was a new organization within USG, so they were learning while on the job.
According to Kirnbauer, SAB will begin booking the Student Activities Center ballroom for every Thursday to provide a space for incoming performers. This will hopefully alleviate the problem of venue space and prevent awkwardly timed concerts, like last semester’s Sunday night Chiddy Bang concert.
With the academic year drawing to a close, we look forward, with hope, to a year full of activities and events hosted by Stony Brook’s clubs. Perhaps we will finally return to the glory days of Stony Brook’s concert series.