Freshman SC Co-Treasurers re-vamp budgeting system
By biconews On 29 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Liz Hunt

With the release of budgets, there will always be grumbling. This time around though, the grumbling may involve a lot of, “What do they know - they’re only freshmen.”

Freshmen Shane Danaher and Joe Vazquez, the Student Council Co-Treasurers, would argue that this budgeting cycle is different because they are making some needed changes. The basic budgeting process involves clubs and organizations submitting a prioritized list with the amounts of money they request for each item on the list, as well as the total amount of money desired.

Prior to the election of Danaher and Vazquez, the Budgeting Committee only went through the budgets and cut out what it deemed unnecessary. They then handed out the preliminary budget, which consisted of the monetary total. By this method, the committee did not inform the clubs as to which items were cut. The clubs then filed grievances, in which they attempted to justify their need for more money.

However, after their election, the new SC co-treasurers attempted to make the application process more personal. According to Danaher, they tried to explain why certain items were cut out of budgets. In Vazquez’s estimation, the two treasurers “personalized about half the budgets,” meaning that they attached a note to the returned budgets to help the club understand exactly what was happening to that particular budget.

This year, the total amount of money requested by 77 clubs and organizations was about $180,000. The committee has $60,000 available for allocation. This number is further reduced by some of the larger, standard budgeting items, like Haverfest and the New Point Concert series - subtracting their combined budgets leaves the total money to be distributed at about $45,000 for 70 clubs.

According to Vazquez, the reason he and Danaher ran for the positions “was to see things that were good for the community supported.” This is also their guiding principle of budgeting. Since the majority of the money that is given out by the committee comes from the activities fees that

all students pay as part of tuition, Danaher feels strongly that “our money should benefit everyone.”

During the budgeting process, they made a large effort to look at what each club was doing for the community, and how their budget would affect the general population. Much of the dissatisfaction with this semester’s budget has stemmed from this idea, or Danaher and Vazquez’s interpretation of it. In Danaher’s mind, things for which students receive credit and that satisfy requirements for graduation, such as Physical Education credits, should not be funded by Student Council. Instead, they believe that the Athletic Department should shoulder more of the burden for club sports’ funds, as should the Haverford College Athletic Association, HCAA, because they both benefit athletes and concern PE requirements.

This year, the crew, volleyball, golf and ultimate frisbee teams asked for about $15,000 total. Danaher believes that “they obviously need this money,” but that it is too large a chunk of the total money allotted for budgeting for Student Council to give them all they ask for. Both treasurers are currently in discussion with the Athletic Department in order to redistribute responsibility for these groups’ budgets. This semester, the Athletic Department agreed to

match the money they gave the crew team.

Varquez emphasized that they are trying to work with the administration to possibly narrow the clubs they budget. By doing this, “it would mean more money for things we deem in our jurisdiction.” This year, their new philosophy has redirected about $7,000 to these clubs. “While people may not feel the difference this semester because there are so many other things taking up money, like Haverfest and commencement, next semester people will really feel the impact,” said Vazquez.

However, not everyone agrees with this philosophy. Senior Kelly Carroll, one of the heads of the HCAA, feels that a pep club does play an important role in the community, and as a result, feels that it should have received more money. She believes that “SC is meant to support campus activities,” and that athletic events are important to the community. According to Carroll, perhaps with a little work, athletics could become campus-wide events.

Danaher expressed concern regarding the HCAA using funds to have prospective athlete weekends, but Carroll highlighted the other things they do for the community, such as the athletic board in the DC and activities at games. She said that “now the association will have to go through the SC Activities Committee every time they want to organize something.” A number of other people have expressed concern over this semester’s budgets. Lunt Café was another organization that lost quite a bit of money due to the treasurers’ budgeting ideas.

Budgeting was both a long and difficult process for Danaher and Vazquez. Said Danaher, “I felt genuinely disheartened by some of the money we had to give out.” Vazquez admitted that it was hard work, especially cutting people’s budgets, but he said that it could also be fun. He really wants to make an impact at Haverford, and he feels that the position of treasurer is a great place to work from. They both commended the Budgeting Committee for doing a wonderful job and making it easier for them to take office as freshmen.

In regards to their relative inexperience, they feel it can be both an asset and an obstacle. Vazquez said that it was hard to make tough decisions. He also claimed that his freshman status made it even harder since some students feel that both Vazquez and Danaher have not been at Haverford long enough to perform their job effectively. However, he also said that he thinks being freshmen gives them a fresh outlook, in that they are willing to do things differently. It remains to be seen just what kind of effect their changes will have on Haverford.

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