SGA resolution boosts student org grants
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 00:02
At Wednesday night’s West Virginia University Student Government Association meeting, a resolution was passed that could potentially increase the amount of grant money available to student organizations.
Currently, student organizations seeking grants for financial aid with a specific trip or project can receive $500 or $250 from SGA’s grant budget.
However, some trips require several thousand dollars – making $500 a drop in the bucket, according to Governor Christian Guy.
"That’s why we’re here – to help student organizations," he said. "Some of these trips cost thousands and thousands of dollars – $500 is just a small percent of that."
The resolution, as read by Governor Guy, is designed to utilize the full potential of SGA’s grant budget by allowing for an increase of the amounts of grants on a case-by-case basis. The need for this amendment is based on increased travel costs on student organizations (due to WVU’s entrance into the Big XII conference), and the leeway available in the grant budget.
Each year, SGA is allotted $60,000 to grant to student organizations.
If a portion of the budget isn’t spent, it doesn’t carry to the next year – meaning a large portion of the budget goes unused.
"It’s a shame," Guy said. "It’s just kind of wasted when student organizations could be getting more help."
In essence, the SGA Grant Allocation Committee will review each grant application and suggest a grant amount based on the applicant’s financial need, member base, campus contributions and public reputation.
The suggested grant amount will be presented to the Board of Governors, who will vote to approve or amend it.
This resolution is allowed under the SGA bylaws. It changed the wording of the Grant Application, allowing for a variable amount of grant money. The Board of Governors has the power to make this change, and it was unanimously approved.
"This is really an experimental thing," said
Governor Dillon Knox, a major contributor to the
resolution. "When I came into office, we kept it at $500 for a reason – we didn’t know how much money we were going to spend. Now we do."
With only two months of the semester and grant budget utilization hovering around 16.5 percent, Governor Knox believes the resolution can be implemented this year without taxing the budget.
"We’re opening it up to a trial run," he said. "It’s important student organizations know the money is there."
Both Knox and Guy assured the grant evaluation process would be rigorous, preventing improper – or illegitimate – dispersal of funds.
"(The Grant Allocation Committee) is there to help us get a recommendation; that’s what they’re good at," Guy said. "They’ll make sure those funds are allocated correctly."
The Grant Allocation Committee consists of Chief Financial Officer Kevin McBride, Director of Student Organizations Cecil O’Dell, Treasurer Anna Kimberling and Finance major Jordan Damron. The committee is looking to recruit pre-business and directly admitted Business and Economics students.
"It’s many people from different backgrounds, so you have as much diversity as you can get," Knox said.
Even still, the Grant Allocation Committee can only issue recommendations – the governors can override the committee’s suggestions with a vote.
Governor Guy is hopeful this resolution will greatly benefit the student body.
"It’s something that’s needed to happen for a long time," he said. "The more I heard people talk about it, the more I knew we needed to get this done."
Learn more about SGA, or download a grant application at http://sga.wvu.edu.