SGA allocates $391,275.15 for FY22: Organizations were asked to make budget cuts

Leighah Beausoleil, News Editor

Ashlyn Kelly, Asst. News Editor

Steven Bonini, Staff Writer

SGA allocated a total of $391,275.15 in funding for the organizations’ and classes’ Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budgets during its annual “Big Budget” meeting Feb. 19.

This allocated amount is down approximately 10.5% from the FY21 allocation of $436,991.60.

All organizations are separated into five groups. Group One organizations met with SGA to present their funding requests. These organizations will not be able to request further funding during the 2022 fiscal year. 

The funds from the Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF) have decreased for the FY22 budget due to declining student enrollment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. SGA asked the organizations in Group One to revise their budgets to make up for this loss, according to Abigail Salvucci, vice president. 

According to President Olivia Beverlie, SGA does not know the amount of funds available in the SATF for FY22 because fall enrollment has not yet been determined.

“If something does drastically change, SGA will later on have to figure out where to account for that difference, but right now, we’re doing it to the best of our knowledge,” Beverlie said.

The estimated amount of funds in the SATF before allocations was $477,913 due to a $39,265 deficit that was accounted for, according to an email from Ewnie Fedna, SATF treasurer.

The remaining unallocated funds after the Big Budget meeting is $56,637.85, according to Fedna.

Group Two consists of six organizations that receive a flat-rate allocation of $15,000 each, for a total of $90,000. 

Group Three consists of seven organizations that receive a flat-rate allocation of $5,000 each, for a total of $35,000.

These groups have the ability to request further funding during the spring semester. 

Group Four consists of 15 organizations that receive a flat-rate allocation of $500 each, for a total of $7,500. 

Group Five consists of seven organizations that receive a flat rate of $0. 

These groups can request further funding at any point throughout the academic year.

The flat-rate allocations for each group are based on criteria, including services provided, activity status, event risk, and organization or event size, according to Beverlie. 

Any organizations that did not meet with the Finance Committee prior to Big Budget were moved to Group Five, according to Fedna.

SGA also allocated funding for the four class years – the Classes of 2022 and 2023 received $3,550 each, the Class of 2024 received $3,900, and the Class of 2025 received $4,000, for a total of $15,000.

This money is usually “pooled together” and used to fund events for Senior Week, according to Beverlie.

The organizations that comprise Group One are WDJM 91.3 FM, The Gatepost, Student Union Activities Board (SUAB), and SGA. 

WDJM requested $13,852.10 in funding for its FY22 budget – approximately 7.5% down from its FY21 budget of $14,979.10. The organization was allocated the full amount.

The Gatepost requested $41,168.05 in funding for its FY22 budget – approximately 15.5% down from its FY21 budget of $48,725.50. 

The organization was allocated $39,568.05 after the removal of $1,600 in postage costs – approximately 18.8% down from its FY21 budget. 

SUAB requested $125,000 in funding for its FY22 budget – approximately 10.7% down from its FY21 budget of $140,000. 

The organization was allocated $124,300 after the decrease of $2,700 in promotional items to $2,000 – approximately 11.2% down from its FY21 budget. 

SGA requested $61,055 in funding for its FY22 budget – approximately 17.8% down from its FY21 budget of $74,287.50. 

The organization was allocated $66,055 after the increase of $5,000 in auxiliary expenses – approximately 11.1% down from its FY21 budget.  

For each of the Group One organizations, each line of the budgets was discussed and voted on. 

WDJM 91.3 FM

WDJM’s request was presented by Treasurer Jill Rotatori.

In its revised budget, WDJM cut its “station events” category from $2,500 to $2,100, which was due to the removal of $300 toward line item “tables” and a $100 decrease in funding for line item “activities.”

Rotatori said, “We decreased it a little bit just because we were adjusting for the number of events that we are going to do.”

Another revision in the WDJM budget was for its “promotional items” category. This category was decreased from $1,000 to $800 due to the cut of $200 from its funding for the line item “T-shirts.”

Rotatori said the organization chose to decrease this funding because it does not need to purchase as many. 

She added the organization has been brainstorming ideas for new promotional items such as masks and hoodies to get WDJM’s name “out there” because it is a smaller organization.

A motion was made to allocate WDJM its full amount of funding for its revised FY22 budget of $13,852.10, including the expense of station events, promotional items, licensing and membership, and station administration.

The motion passed 11 – 0 with one abstention.

The Gatepost

The Gatepost’s request was presented by Editor-in-Chief Ashley Wall, who was accompanied by Associate Editors Donald Halsing and Cara McCarthy.

In its revised budget, The Gatepost cut its “newspaper administration” category from $33,040 to $26,740. This category includes line items “printing,” “administrative assistant,” and “postage.”

According to Wall, before the pandemic, The Gatepost printed 1,800 copies of 24 issues to be distributed throughout campus. Each issue distribution would leave 150 to 200 copies remaining, which would then go toward archives and mailing. 

Wall said this year, The Gatepost has printed 1,600 copies for each issue, but in an effort to reduce its budget, the number of copies will be 1,200 per issue for Academic Year 2021-22. 

This cut reduces the cost of printing from $24,300 to $18,000. 

“This really is the bare minimum we can do to be able to have enough for students, administrators, faculty – everyone who reads our paper,” she said. “And we’d also like to emphasize that as a newspaper, we’re a physical entity, and we need that printing money.”

She added, “We really ask that we don’t go lower than this, and we don’t cut this because this is really the funding we need to be visible and to provide our service for our community.”

According to Wall, the administrative assistant position plays an “essential role” in the newspaper, and said taking on the responsibilities of this role due to not having one this year has been “difficult.”

She added the funding for the line item “postage” goes toward mailing the newspaper to trustees, Massachusetts representatives, local newspapers, and alumni who request it.

SGA Secretary Lexi Kays asked, “Can we technically give money if it isn’t for students?”

SGA President Beverlie said, “Short answer – technically no. Long answer – basically, the Student Activities Trust Fund – the premise of that fund is that we will use the money from the fund only on students for the benefit of the students because students are the ones paying it.”

SGA Vice President Salvucci said in the past, printing the newspaper and its distribution was deemed OK with the bylaws because the paper was meant for students. 

Salvucci explained when other community members get the paper, it is “just because it’s there.” 

She said a similar situation would be “if we made sweatshirts and left them on the front table in [the McCarthy Center], and someone accidentally picks one up.”

A motion was made to allocate $25,140 for the category “newspaper administration” due to the removal of the “postage” line item of $1,600.

The motion passed 11 – 0 with one abstention. 

In its revised budget, The Gatepost cut the funding for the category “promotional items & recruitment events” in half, resulting in a total of $600.

The Gatepost also cut the funding for the category “office supplies & equipment” to $3,800 by decreasing the line item “cameras & computers” from $2,000 to $1,500. 

Wall said these cuts were all made for the purpose of lowering the overall budget. 

SGA motioned to allocate $39,568.05 to The Gatepost’s FY22 budget due to the removal of the $1,600 from the “postage” line item.

The motion passed 13 – 0 with one abstention.

SUAB

SUAB’s request was presented by Treasurer Alicia Donohoe, who was accompanied by President Sonia Strawn and Vice President Annalisa Marzeotti. 

In its revised budget, SUAB cut $15,000 from the “off-campus events” category by removing the “Spring Fling” line item funds completely. 

Donohoe said that SUAB is just taking a temporary break from holding the event.

“We just want to take some time next year to figure out how we’re going to do it because we can try to reframe it a little bit,” she said. “We just want to get a solid grasp on how we want to do it.”

SUAB moved $1,500 in funding in the “on-campus events” category from the “Pause for Paws” line item event catering and put it toward the “new event ideas” line item.

Donohoe said, “Our advisor challenged us to do more events this semester, so we’ve expanded a lot as to what we’re doing.”

SUAB announced its rebranding that will take place in the fall. The organization will be under the new name Framingham State Activities Board, according to Donohoe.

In the “on-campus events” category, the $2,000 for funding “traditional events” was relocated to SUAB’s “publicity and marketing” category for the “rebranding” line item.

“We’re going to need to get a bunch of new stuff, like merch, with our new name on it, so people can actually know who we are now because we don’t want people referring to us as SUAB anymore starting next year,” Donohoe said.

There was a discussion between SGA and SUAB concerning the increased amount of funding in the “membership and development” category for the “promo items” line item.

SGA SATF Treasurer Fedna asked what the difference was between the “promo items” and “rebranding” line items. 

Strawn said the category “publicity and marketing” where the “rebranding” fund of $2,000 is located is for funding toward more advertisement such as a prize wheel, new tablecloths, decals, and other items to put their new name on.

The “membership and development” category “is going to be items for members and then hopefully new people that we can persuade to come to a meeting to eventually be a member,” she added.

A motion was put forth to allocate $4,000 to the “membership and development” category due to the removal of $700 from the “promo items” line item.

An amendment was then put forth to also remove $1,000 from the “open meetings” line item.

According to Donohoe, during open meetings, the organization will do “fun” activities to encourage students to join and to also provide a “little treat” for returning members.

The amendment was not supported and the original motion passed 8 – 5 with no absentions.

SGA motioned to allocate $124,300 to SUAB’s FY22 budget due to the removal of the $700 from the “promo items” line item.

The motion passed 14 – 0 with no absentions.

Due to an error, SUAB was not given the opportunity to respond to the cuts SGA made before the vote took place.

SUAB members left the meeting briefly before asking to return to give their response.

Strawn said, “I know we did mention that we are rebranding and that is going to take a lot of advertisement and a lot of promotional items. We got cut that $700 and that could really go a long way as far as promotional items and advertisement go. 

“I know just from event planning experience, when I got three different promotional items for the entire campus for a Sandbox … it came to a total of $6,000. So really, if you want to get in bulk, it’s like $2,000 for one item,” she added. 

SGA Vice President Salvucci said that despite the error, the vote was final.

Strawn said, “It wasn’t really clear that we had the floor to argue because you guys were all just talking in the chat. We were thinking that we were supposed to leave and we wanted to argue originally before you made anything official.”

SGA President Beverlie said, “It’s hard to sit through [cuts] after you put in so much work for a budget. I totally understand that, but I will say that our senators do the best to their knowledge to accurately and appropriately distribute SATF funds.”

SGA

The SGA budget request was presented by President Beverlie and SATF Treasurer Fedna.  

SGA’s total budget is broken down into five sub-budgets, including general, operations, training, benevolence, and banquet.

In its revised operations budget, SGA made cuts to its “general & operating expenses” line item.

The general budget saw a $4,000 decrease in funds, with $16,200 for FY22 – down from $20,200 for FY21.

Its operations budget saw a $10,282.05 decrease in funds, with $26,355 for FY22 – down from $36,637.50 for FY21. 

The main cut in the general budget was to its “SGA outreach programs” line item.

For FY21, SGA had allocated a total of $7,500 to outreach programs, which was cut in FY22 to a $5,000 request, for a total $2,500 decrease.  

Beverlie said in the past, the outreach program has been used for multiple functions, such as paying the RamTram to go to football games or cosponsor events with other on-campus organizations.

She said the decision was made to cut from this program “to keep up with us getting less money in general.”

The second cut SGA made in the general budget was to its “promotional items” line item.

In FY21, SGA allocated $500 to promotional items, which was cut in FY22 to $0.

Beverlie said over the years, SGA has tried to encourage other organizations to also cut promotional items from their budgets.

“They [promotional items] often just end up sitting in the club rooms or they don’t all get handed out, and we just didn’t want to be a part of the problem – we’re trying to stop. So, we just decided to completely get rid of that,” she said. 

In SGA’s operations budget, the main cut was to its “general & operating expenses” line item.

In FY21, SGA allocated a total of $7,675 to general and operating expenses, which was cut in FY22 to a request of $5,000 for a total $2,675 decrease.  

Beverlie said this section of the budget covers various office supplies for the SGA office, including expo markers, pens, printing supplies, and water.  

Another cut SGA made to its operations budget was to the “auxiliary expense” line item.  

In FY21, SGA allocated a total of $13,000 to the “auxiliary expenses” line item, which was initially cut in the FY22 budget to a request of $5,000 to pay overtime expenses for maintainers and police detailers, who are required at events, according to SGA Advisor Sara Gallegos.

SGA discussed the “new charge” due to hiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for events.  

Gallegos said the addition of interpreters will go toward SGA’s goal in practicing inclusivity.

Pending this new charge, the line item was increased to a total of $10,000.

Secretary Kays posed a question about this line, asking, “How much money did we actually utilize from these allocations in the previous years?”

Gallegos said in FY20, organizations used over $12,000 for police and maintainers, making the argument that adding the $5,000 would make sense. 

Senator Danielle Shaw asked if there was a way to specify which money went to the police and maintainers and which money was going to the interpreters.

Beverlie said it’s something she could add in her motion or have “good faith” organizations will put the money toward the ASL interpreters.

The motion for a $10,000 allocation pending $5,000 for interpreters passed 13 – 0 with no absentions.

A motion was made to allocate SGA its full funding request for its revised FY22 total budget with the $5,000 increase for the “auxiliary expenses” line item for a total allocation of $66,005.

The motion passed 13 – 0 with no abstentions.