President & Treasurer Email 11/11/19

Dear Student Group Presidents and Treasurers, 

My name is Arjan Kalra and I have served as your Budget Committee Chair for the Spring and Fall 2019 semesters. I once again wanted to thank you all for working incredibly closely with me this past year to better improve Student Union’s financial practices to be more transparent and accommodating to the needs of your student group. Today, I am reaching out to you with some important information regarding your Spring 2020 budget.

Over the past few weeks, Budget Committee has enjoyed reading and discussing each of the  181  budgets we received and learning about your group’s mission and vision.  Through the process, Budget Committee allocated  $849,902.68  for Category 1 student group events for the upcoming Spring semester. However, there is about  $700,000  available for Category 1 student groups’ budgets for the Spring 2020 semester through the annual General Budget process. This leaves a discrepancy of  $149,902.68  between the amount available for Category 1 groups and the amount Budget Committee decided to allocate for groups. For that reason,  Category 1 student groups will only receive 80% of what Budget Committee allocated them for the Spring 2020 semester. This funding percentage will not apply to equipment items or team dues.

While we recognize that this may pose a challenge to your groups, we believe that this is the most consistent way to proceed with Spring 2020 budgets. Budget Committee is able to ensure fairness throughout the allocation process by evaluating each budget independently and with a consistent rationale. The Committee does not consider how much money has been allocated to prior groups in order to avoid giving preference to groups whose budgets are viewed earlier on in the process, but instead evaluates each budget according to the policies and procedures outlined in the Student Union Financial Guidelines.

With that, we understand that you all have your own priorities within your budgets, so we encourage groups to reallocate funds within event types, reallocate from supplemental events to essential events, and/or draw from fundraising and gifts accounts to secure the funds you need for the events you plan on having next semester.

This percentage is historically low, and I want to ensure you all are well-informed on how the rest of the Financial Leadership team and I worked to increase the funding percentage to where it sits currently. As examples, we did not fund apparel for any group and reallocated unspent funds in SU’s operating budget to Category I and II groups for Spring 2020. Despite this, the amount Senate and Treasury allocated to student groups in this year’s General Budget session still fell short of the amount we hoped for.  This past year, we received $1.12 million from the session, yet saw over $2 million in student group budget requests.  For this reason, I urge you all to make your voice heard in the General Budget process moving forward. I encourage you all to voice your thoughts and opinions in how you think Student Union should allocate funds in future General Budget sessions by talking to a legislative representative, the SU Vice President of Finance, or by attending the joint session. 

If you would like to talk to us about your student group or learn more about some of our rationale behind funding/not funding certain line items in your budget, I would encourage you to attend our open Post-Allocation Office Hours, where you can talk to numerous Budget Committee members and any member of the Financial Leadership team about your budget.  Those Office Hours will be on Wednesday (11/13) from 5:30PM-7PM, Friday (11/15) from 5PM-7PM, and Tuesday (11/19) from 1:30PM-3PM. They will all occur in the Student Union Office on the 2nd Floor of the Danforth University Center. 

As always, if you have any questions related to the information above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the financial leadership team: Ariel Ashie, VP of Finance (finance@su.wustl.edu) Alexa Jochims, Activities Committee Chair (activities@su.wustl.edu) Agneesh Dasgupta, Speaker of the Treasury (treasury@su.wustl.edu) or me, Arjan Kalra, Budget Committee Chair (budget@su.wustl.edu). We are committed to helping you through this process in whatever ways we can to ensure your group’s success next semester and beyond.

Cheers, 

Arjan Kalra

Student Union Budget Committee Chair