The final Student Group Council meeting for the fall semester focused on two major aspects of a student group’s existence: the allocation of group funds and ideas on how to increase membership and performance.
At Wednesday’s meeting, both Matt Allwood, vice president for finance of the Student Association, and Adam Shamah, Assembly representative for Off Campus College, discussed a change in how student group funds will be spent.
Student groups at BU are funded through two sources: one is a mandatory student activity fee paid by all students along with tuition, which the SA divies up each year in a budget, and the second is through the organization’s fundraising efforts.
Currently, the SA retains the right to impose restrictions on how groups use the money from fundraising, but a proposal introduced at the meeting could change this.
According to Allwood, the proposal would take away the discretion of the VPF to reject expenditures; instead, he would be required to sign proposals, even if he was against them.
To some, however, this change in power creates concerns over liability.
“I feel it is a liability to the SA. If a group were to spend money on something that the SA could be sued for, we would be held personally responsible,” Allwood said.
According to Jared Kirschenbaum, executive vice president of the SA, while a vote was called to get an idea of students’ positions, the official SGC vote on this proposal will be held at next semester’s first mandatory meeting.
After much question and debate, this initial vote concluded with 20 students in favor and 11 opposed.
The meeting then turned to a discussion on how groups can gain new members and retain current ones, find new fundraising ideas and advertise and market their groups.
According to Kirschenbaum, a great way to get new members and more people to come to an event is through free campus advertising.
“There are newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and B-Line that are all available for free,” Kirschenbaum noted.
Kristen Carr, program coordinator for the SA, mentioned Dateline as another way for students to advertise.
“Dateline is something not a lot of people know about. It is similar to B-Line but goes to all professionals on campus and is great if you want community members to get involved,” Carr said. “Check out dateline.binghamton.edu and send them an e-mail to advertise.”
Kirschenbaum stressed the importance of the student groups on campus and how great it is to be involved. He also emphasized the power of group leaders to spark new interests among otherwise sedentary students.
“There are 200 student groups and still a number of people that sit in their room and play video games all afternoon. There are people that do nothing on this campus. If you want to make your group bigger, stronger, better and be able to raise more money, these are the routes you need to go,” Kirschenbaum said.
To motivate student groups to stay on track and improve each semester, Kirschenbaum is instituting a point system.
“I’m going to send out a report each semester. It will have around 15 things you can talk about on it, such as how many members are in your group, what types of events you have, if you’ve done any things with Late Nite, etc.”
This information will then be taken and calculated to give each group a point total for the semester. At the end of the year, another survey will be sent out and the same calculations will take place.
“Your group is not competing with other groups, you are competing with yourself. Groups are in different categories and fundamentally do different things so the point is to show you how you are doing and help you improve,” Kirschenbaum said.
According to Kirschenbaum, the idea is to gather data and put out reports about clubs on campus, which in turn is one more way to get the club’s name out there.
Both Kirschenbaum and Carr have an open-door policy and welcome any and all clubs to stop by with questions or concerns.