The Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) of the Student Government Association (SGA) is one of SGA's most important committees. An overview of its tasks and policies follow:
The purpose of the Student Activity Fund (SAF) is to provide Berry College students the opportunity to interact and participate in various campus projects, programs and services that are intended to enhance campus vibrancy and the college experience. The desired outcome is to increase student life/activities in support of overall student retention.
First and foremost, the SAF is to be utilized by recognized student organizations of Berry College to help support their programming needs. The ability to request the SAF allows organizations to devote more time to programming and less on fundraising efforts, though the intent of the SAF is not to completely eliminate the need for fundraising. Additionally, the SAF provides an opportunity for student leaders to gain hands-on experience with fiscal responsibilities.
If funds are available, financial support may also be given to other Berry student groups and student life programs as requested.
The Student Activity Fund was implemented in the Fall of 2007 after much research and assessment. A Student Activities Fee Task Force was appointed from the Student Life Council in 2006 to look at current practices and funding for Berry student groups as well as the impact a student activities fee would have on student life.
Members of the Task Force conducted research of peer and aspirant institutions to identify who charged a student activities fee, how much was charged, and the process for oversight and allocation of the fee. In addition to their research, a national survey was conducted by William Jewel College addressing similar questions. The data showed that 90% of colleges and universities had some type of student activities fee, and 80% of the colleges and universities had a student activities fee budget of at least $150,000.
Once the research was completed, a report was shared across campus and student feedback gathered as to whether or not a fee should be added. Next, the Student Government Association (SGA) then held a student-wide vote, and a majority of students voted “yes” for adding a student activities fee, with $75 per semester gaining the most support. Based on the research and campus input, a recommendation was made by the Task Force to the Student Life Council for implementation of a $75/semester fee in 2007-2008. The Council supported the recommendation, which was then forwarded on the President and Board of Trustees.
BUDGET & FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Student Activity Fund will be allocated by the SGA Budget and Finance Committee (BFC), thus allowing for student governance and accountability.
Members of the BFC are:
- SGA Treasurer
- The SGA Treasurer will act as the chair of the committee
- Freshmen Class Treasurer
- Until Freshmen Class Treasurer elected, the committee will consist of only 10 members
- Sophomore Class Treasurer
- Junior Class Treasurer
- Senior Class Treasurer
- SGA Vice-President of Student Services
- SGA Faculty Advisor
- The SGA Faculty Advisor will serve as Ex-Officio
- Director or Assistant Director of Student Activities
- The Director or Assistant Director of Student Activities will serve as Ex-Officio
- 3 Elected SGA Members (voted in at the next meeting after inauguration of new officers)
The BFC will determine when and how often they need to meet throughout the year. One member of the BFC will be selected to serve as secretary for the committee. Minutes will be taken of their official meetings and are available on file in the SGA Office.
STUDENT ACTIVITIES FUND BUDGET
All full-time and part-time enrolled undergraduate students are assessed a $75 student activities fee each semester during the academic year. The fee will not be assessed to students studying abroad for the semester/year. In addition, all full-time enrolled graduate students are also assessed a $75 student activities fee each semester during the academic year.
Each spring, the SGA Treasurer, in consultation with the Dean of Students, will make a budget projection based on anticipated enrollment for the following year. This projection will take into account a decrease in enrollment from fall to spring semester. Once official enrollment numbers are calculated in September/January, the SAF budget will be adjusted accordingly.
At the beginning of the academic year, the College’s Business Office will transfer the student activities fee to the SAF account, which is operated through the Student Activities Office. All transactions are handled through Student Activities, though the SGA Treasurer manages the account.
POLICY AND PROCEDURE CHANGES
If a member of the BFC is unable to fulfill their committee duties, the SGA Treasurer will nominate someone from the current SGA body to serve on the committee. This nomination must be approved by the voting members of SGA.
If the structure of the BFC needs to be changed, a formal proposal must be submitted by an SGA Executive Officer and approved by the voting members of SGA. Final approval must be given by the Dean of Students.
Any changes to policies and procedures for allocating the SAF must be submitted by the SGA Treasurer and approved by the voting members of SGA. Final approval must be given by the Dean of Students.
PROCESS FOR MAKING REQUESTS
In order for a group to request SAF, they must be a recognized student organization through Student Life Council and also have established good standing with SGA, which includes meeting attendance and participation in SGA service projects.
Student groups should submit an Annual Budget Request Form each spring for the following academic year. The form includes an explanation of how the group is contributing to campus vibrancy, justification of funding needed, and a break down of cost estimates. The BFC will review these requests and make a recommendation for allocation or request further details from the student group. If an allocation is recommended, the SGA body must approve the allocation, and then the final decision will be made by the Dean of Students.
If funds are allocated, the money will be transferred to the group’s SO account in Hermann Hall. The organization must use the funds for the original intended purpose. In the event that an organization’s funding needs change, they should submit a formal letter of request to apply the funds to another program, resource, etc and receive the approval of the BFC before spending the money.
In the event that additional opportunities, unexpected expenses, etc arise during the year, an organization may submit a Supplement Funds Needed (SFN) form to request an additional allocation. However, groups are encouraged to plan ahead and submit an annual request.
In the event that an organization needs money to help initially start a fundraiser, the group may submit a Seed Money Application to the BFC. The money is to be used only to help begin the fundraiser and must be paid back in full before additional money may be allocated.
At the end of each academic year, student organizations will be required to submit an annual budget report to demonstrate how SAF allocations were used during towards furthering the organization’s goals as well as contributing to campus life. This form is required to be submitted before consideration will be made for funding for the next academic year.
General Guidelines & Operating Principles
1-Funds should be used towards contributing to student/campus life; thus it is encouraged that Student Activities Funds be used towards programming open to the entire campus.
2-Policies pertain to all recognized student organizations regardless of membership. Additional policies may pertain to Student Associations and College-Sponsored Organizations, as defined by the Student Life Council.
3-All events funded by the Student Activities Fund should include recognition of the Student Activities Fund in their publicity.
4-All uses of the Student Activity Fund (SAF) money shall be subject to and governed by the following:
- Budget and Finance Committee policies
- Berry College Student Government Association’s Constitution
- Berry College Student Organization Policies
- Berry College Viking Code
- Local, state and national laws
5-Money allocated from the Student Activities Fund shall not be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, or anything in direct violation of the Viking Code.
6-Student work positions, as well as faculty and staff salaries, should be funded through the college’s operating budget.
7-The BFC will take into consideration funding provided by other departments, organizations, grants, or other outside sources of revenue. Thus, attempts should be made to solicit funds from departments, grants, and other outside sources of revenue before requests are submitted to BFC.
8-The BFC will consider each individual organization request based on maintaining good standing with SGA, completion of required paperwork, proven fiscal responsibility, and the organization’s contribution to campus life.
9-The BFC may ask a member of an organization to be present if questions arise regarding the amount or description of the budget request.
10-The BFC reserves the right to complete an audit of an organization’s account and to retrieve unused Student Activities Funds previously allocated.
11-Organizations may be asked to submit an explanation of what a club and/or individual members will gain from participation in conferences, trainings, or competitions in order to justify the request of student activity funds.
12-Student organization fundraising money will roll over to the next fiscal year, as well as those funds initially brought over from the previous Student Activities Organization accounts in the fall of 2007.
13-BFC expects organizations to be good stewards of the SAF. If an organization demonstrates fiscal irresponsibility, the BFC may require one or more of the following by the organization/member in question:
- Submit a formal letter of explanation of why finances were not used for intended purposes
- Presentation made by an organization representative at a BFC and/or SGA meeting
- Submit payment to make up for loss of funds
- Pursuit of charges under the Viking Code for individual student(s) and/or student organizations.
14-In the event that an organization does not comply with BFC policies and/or demonstrates fiscal irresponsibility, the BFC may make a recommendation to SGA to freeze an organization’s account until a resolution is reached. If the recommendation is approved by SGA, it will then be presented to the Dean of Students for consideration.
Awards, Gifts, Trophies
Money may be allocated to purchase awards, trophies, plaques or gifts or in support of prize money/gifts for campus-wide events, services and initiatives. However, SAF should not be used for individual members’ and/or advisor gifts.
Money will not be allocated in order to purchase clothing for individual members unless an organization demonstrates that items are needed for the operation of the organization.
Money will not be allocated to support political candidates, political parties, or to donate to charities. Exceptions to this would be for funding to support organization’s participation in campus-wide events such as representatives for the Mr/Miss Berry Pageant, supplies needed for Make-A-Difference Day project, etc.
Money can be allocated for equipment and maintenance of that equipment, and therefore the equipment is property of Berry College, not the specific club.
An inventory should be submitted to the Budget and Finance Committee at the beginning and end of every school year that lists equipment purchases made with both SAF and organization-raised funds.
Normal wear and tear is expected to occur with use of equipment. However, organizations should make an effort to maximize use out of equipment purchased and replace only when needed.
In the event that equipment is damaged by an individual, the individual is responsible for any costs incurred.
Money can be allocated to support speaker fees (honorary food, travel, and lodging), rental fees, food, and other costs associated to put on the event.
Money can be allocated for food up to $200.00 per semester for meetings, organization socials, and other internal operations. In the case that your organization has a high membership total, you can ask for additional funds.
If the organization participates in a retreat, a separate line item request should be made for additional food needs and supplies.
A separate request can be made for seed money to help support the initial stages for a fundraiser but must be paid back in full to the Student Activities Fund by the end of the academic year. Additional “seed money” requests cannot be made until the previous amount has been paid back in full.
Money will not be allocated to pay for individual student local or national membership fees. However, an organization may request funding to support annual organization dues for national affiliation.
Operating expenses include items such as printing, postage, office supplies and advertisement. Groups are encouraged to make use of available resources through Student Activities before spending money on such items.
Money can be allocated for off-campus trips to regional and national conferences, vocational training, mission and service trips, competitions and tournaments. Regionally, money may be allocated $250.00 per person or up to a maximum of $1250.00. Nationally, money may be allocated $400.00 per person or up to a maximum of $2000.00.
Rules for travel funds:
Requests for funds to cover events and travel to and from events held off campus must be made by filling out a separate Travel Funds Request Form. Travel requests will be considered only after funding for all on-campus events and activities has been completed. The exception to this rule will be clubs for which travel is an integral part of club activities (ie, club sports, etc). The amount of money available for travel will thus fluctuate from year to year depending on the number of on-campus requests, but as a rule will never exceed a total amount of ($30,000).
Priority for granting travel fund requests will be given to the following activities:
• Individuals presenting papers or posters at academic conferences
• Individuals or groups representing Berry College in competitions
• Volunteer and charity work, with priority being given to local projects
• Training events for club leaders that directly contribute to enhancing the vibrancy of student life at Berry
All other travel requests will be awarded based on available funds on a per-student basis. No club may receive more than $2000.00 in total travel money for all off-campus events.
In the event that an organization does not agree with the decision made by the Budget and Finance Committee, a letter of appeal may be submitted to the Dean of Students for consideration. The Dean of Students will then call a special committee of SGA members to discuss the appeal. The committee should include the SGA Treasurer as well as one member of the BFC. Decisions of this ad-hoc committee are final.
Other uses for Student Activities Fund
Requests from Non-Student Organizations Budget, including Student Publications, Dance Concert, First and Second-Year Council, Volunteer Services, Class Officers etc.
- The SGA Treasurer is the Chairperson of the Committee.
- Pursuant to Article VI, Section 6 of the SGA Constitution, "Additions to and subtractions from the membership of the BFC may be made at the discretion of the Treasurer." As such, members may be dismissed from service on the Committee if they 1) disrupt meetings, 2) miss more than two meetings without prior approval, or 3) repeatedly fail to complete assigned tasks.
- The BFC will meet weekly, or at the discretion of the Chairperson, with ample notification of all meetings being given in advance.
- Strict parliamentary order will not be followed unless the Committee so requests or the Chairperson decides doing so will increase productivity.
- Quorum shall exist if the Chairperson and one other member are present.
- Decisions of the Committee shall be made by simple majority voting.
For more information on the Budget and Finance Committee, please contact the SGA Treasurer.