SGI notifies ‘Big 10’ organizations

Student Government, Inc., passed a proposal last week that requires the University’s “Big 10” student organizations to disclose what they plan to do with the money in their budget each school year.

Prior to the 2006-07 school year, the student organizations on campus had no annual requirements regarding their budget spending. Now, SGI has put it in writing that every organization on campus must produce a minimum of three programming events per semester.

“What we did this year is made it a point to try to put things in text and communicate them to the organizations in writing, so that from year to year it’s consistent,” said John Buddenhagen, president of SGI. “It’s also consistent from organization to organization and from decision to decision.”

The “Big 10” organizations, which include Haraya, the Residence Hall Association, and the Student Programming Board, received letters last week from the SGI office stating the new requirements for organizational programming on campus.
It also notified the groups that they would be broken up into 2 categories: programming boards (SPB, RHA, Haraya), and super organizations (the American Pharmaceutical Association, the African and Latino Fraternal Sororal Alliance, the Inter-Fraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the Latin American Student Organization, and the Muslim Students Association). The Vincentian Yearbook was excluded.

The six super organizations will be required to host between six and eight events per semester, while the three programming boards are required to organize between eight and twelve events per semester.

After receiving the letter, “Big 10” presidents attended a mandatory meeting with Student Government leaders and Campus Activities to discuss the recent additional requirements for their organizations.

“We got pretty much positive responses from everyone,” Buddenhagen said. “People were agreeing with the point that if you do get 90,000 a year, or 70,000 [dollars] a year, that you should be held accountable for more.”

“Big 10” organizations receive anywhere from $7,000 to $80,000. They have to provide documentation of their past events, but do not have to provide SGI with a list of upcoming events. If organizations fail to provide SGI with documentation, they can lose up to 50 percent of their funds, and get kicked out of the “Big 10.”

The difference between the “Big 10” organizations on campus and the other 100 or so organizations is anywhere between $5,500 and $78,500 per year. Organizations outside of the “Big 10” receive about $1,600 per year, but only have to hold three events per semester.

New rules have been implemented this year that reward organizations that continuously go above and beyond their requirements. In the past, every organization would receive a fixed amount of money. Now, organizations that can provide documentation of campus activities will earn more funds for the upcoming year.

Requirements for student organizations that wish to be added to the “Big 10” have not yet been written down, but guidelines are currently in the process of being defined on paper. The current “Big 10” organizations were determined by history and recommendations by Campus Activities.

“We spent a lot of time trying to put things in writing and patching up mistakes from the past,” Buddenhagen said. “It will make an impact in the future, and right now, we just want to look forward.”