The recent controversy surrounding the Colorado College Student Government Association’s decision to allocate $12,332 of special events funding to PlayHard Productions for the winter wonderland-themed Ice Age has left many wondering how the student government decides where funding goes.
The branch within the CCSGA that handles the budget and grants is the finance committee, a group made up of vice president of finance Alejandro Salazar and four recently elected committee members: Austin Miller, Allie Verchota, Takanori Kondo, and Jaden Hawkinson
Five elected officials distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to different events with the aim to impact the greatest number of students possible in the cost-efficient way.
The finance committee has many roles — primarily to hear, edit, and approve of on campus club’s outlines for various special events.
“We meet bi-weekly with representatives of clubs requesting funds to gain an understanding of the events being proposed,” explained Miller. “Alejandro sets these meetings up with the clubs after they submit an online budget form.”
Upon hearing the clubs’ proposals, the committee members sort through what they believe to be necessary in the budget and propose whatever improvements they find would be more cost efficient.
Afterwards, the committee dismisses the club.
“We tell them that we’ll give them a response over email within 15 minutes with our decision,” said Salazar. “It’s hard to say the result in person, so a couple of years ago we started emailing them the approved budget. So far, we’ve been good about giving clubs most everything they need.”
The CCSGA finance committee also approves clubs’ yearly budget proposals at the end of the second semester.
For the 2013-2014 school year, the total budget for club funding was about $110,000 of the CCSGA’s total $301,645.74.
The three clubs that received the most funding for their 2013-2014 budget were Breakout ($9,000), the Freeriders Union of Colorado College ($9,000), and the Carnivore Club ($11,000).
The clubs that receive the largest financial packages for both their yearly budgets and special events are normally the ones that have the biggest impact on campus life.
“There are a blend of reasons why certain clubs historically receive more money,” Salazar said. “Normally, though, they are the most utilized and thus require the most money.”
Members of the finance committee generally agree that the grants for events they approve generally bring the whole campus together.
“The most important events are the uplifting ones that bring the campus together and have the ability to draw people from all over campus with different interest,” said Hawkinson.
The other major goal of event grant approval is to reach out to students who normally veer off campus at night.
“Personally, I support events that offer a real alternative for students to parties in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Miller. “This way the pressure on seniors is lessened and underclassmen still have something to look forward to on Friday and Saturday nights.”
A new part of the finance committee is the Collaborative Initiative, which is an incentive for clubs to team up to run events.
“The CCSGA freezes 10 percent of groups’ yearly budget per semester until they collaborate with another student group,” Kondo said. “Therefore, in order to access all their operating funds, student groups must collaborate.
An upcoming event, Taste of the World on Nov. 17, is a perfect example of the success of the Collaborative Initiative.
Mosaic, the creator of the event, has teamed up with every minority group on campus. Each group sponsors dish reflecting their culture that attendees are free to sample throughout the night.
In the future, the finance committee hopes to continue to expand on campus events as well as the resources clubs have access to.
“I’m hoping to keep bringing kids back on campus with things like live music and concerts,” said Salazar. “We are also working on getting storage space and obviously more money for clubs.
Elizabeth Forster, Staff Writer