Three clubs did not see a decreased initial allocation this year; majority of clubs see significant cuts

Following trends that The Griffin has tracked over the past two years, initial allocations were decreased for the majority of clubs this year. Using a spreadsheet provided by James Garvey, the vice president for business and finance of the Undergraduate Student Association, The Griffin compared initial allocations to our records of the past two years

Students might be inclined to think that since USA’s capital budget is based on the total of student fees paid, this year’s 15 percent increase in freshman enrollment would create an increase in the capital budget. However, Garvey says this isn’t the case. 

Garvey told The Griffin that this year’s decreased initial allocations are due to a new allocation of capital budget funds, as well as influenced by the time students registered for classes. 

USA received an estimated capital budget to work with by late July, based on the number of students registered for classes. This year’s capital budget decreased from $840,000 last year, to $800,000 this year, according to Garvey. 

If students do not register for classes by the time USA receives the initial capital budget, USA is not able to use those funds immediately. Garvey estimates that in the coming weeks they will know how much additional funds are available, due to the increased enrollment. He estimates the total capital budget based on total enrollment will be around, or if not more, last year’s capital budget. 

Daniel A. Dentino, PhD, the vice president for student affairs and dean of students, also requested that USA contribute funds towards all-campus programming initiatives. Garvey told The Griffin that Dentino has previously done this in his work at previous colleges, typically asking for 30 percent of the student government budget. 

30 percent of USA’s $800,000 budget would be $240,000. USA elected to contribute $70,000 to Dentino’s initiative, which includes programming for this year such as Great to be a Griff Day, Pints with Professors and game tailgates. Garvey says that in the future, the hope is to include events such as parent weekends or a Shea’s series. 

Another purpose of decreased initial allocations is to open up more funding in the long run to clubs, that were previously held up in unused budgets at the end of the year or were “wasteful spending.” Garvey stated that the idea of this is to create more appeals.

“USA ended up pulling [initial allocations] back into a contingency fund because clubs weren’t spending those allocations that were distributed to them,” Garvey said. “So, other clubs didn’t get to use them. So it’s unfair to the clubs that are actively programming, then there are these unspent funds that are held onto that no one has access to.”

Some clubs have expressed frustration with the current process, such as Quadrangle, which prints an arts and literary magazine each year. Ron Ward, co-editor in chief of Quadrangle expressed to The Griffin there is not much they can do to lower some of their costs. 

“What’s frustrating is with clubs, like Quadrangle, there is a certain amount we know we’re going to use every single year because we do the exact same thing every single year,” Ward said.

Quadrangle’s initial allocation this year is $3,650. Last year, their initial allocation was $9,000, and $12,000 in 2017-18. Ward added that it would be “preferable if they had a system where they actually, really communicated with clubs about this better.”

Garvey used last year’s initial allocations as a starting point, and then determined initial allocations based on an analysis of a club’s spending last year, taking into account that USA has $110,000 less this year as a capital budget.

Circle K was the only club to see an increase in initial allocation, from $275 to $750. Only two clubs did not see decreases. Digital Media Arts Club maintained their $50 initial allocation, and the Student Programming Board maintained their $190,000 allocation.

USA was among clubs with a decreased initial allocation. USA’s operational budget is $16,800 this year compared to $31,996 last year, which includes $6,000 split between committees, according to Garvey. USA decided to cut the spending of about $10,000 on free planners for students. 

Mike Pesarchick, Jenna French, Lauren Schifley, and Abby Wojcik contributed reporting to this story. 

If a club doesn’t appear on the included spreadsheet for 2019-2020, it is likely because they haven’t registered on Canisius Life. Garvey says clubs are welcome to do so, and encouraged to appeal.

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