To the Trinity Community:
Last year I was elected as the Vice President of Finance, to represent student interests on the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Executive Board and to manage the Student Activities Fund (SAF). The purpose of the SAF is to provide funding for student organizations and clubs. It is my and Budget Committee’s responsibility to fairly allocate these resources.
I am aware that some students are unaware of the process behind these financial decisions, creating rumors and speculations about supposed budget deficits and other pertinent affairs. As an elected representative, I believe that transparency from your SGA is fundamental to a healthy relationship with the student body. I plan to realize this commitment as Vice President of Finance by opening a dialogue with the student body about the state of the SAF and the role of Budget Committee.
This year, several changes were made to the budget that significantly affected the organization. It was revealed to me over the summer that the 2017-2018 SAF was at a deficit due to the unanticipated cost of the off-campus shuttle. The SGA has always been committed to providing this service to students free of charge, with regularly-scheduled hours. Although this position had not changed, the SGA was responsible for the entire cost of this initiative, which was simply too expensive for the SGA to bear alone.
To mitigate this financial burden and attempt to balance the budget, the SAIL office and I were forced to cut allocations to the SGA Operating Budget and narrow the operating hours of the shuttle program. The rest of the deficit would have been covered by the RainyDay Fund, which my predecessors have diligently maintained as collateral for unforeseen events such as this. I never considered reevaluating the budgets of other organizations on campus, as this would fundamentally contradict the stated purpose of the Budget Committee and the SAF as primary resources for student groups.
Thanks to Dean Joe DiChristina, however, the budget is stable once again and some of these drastic measures will not need to take place. Through discussions between SAIL, Dean DiChristina, and myself, Dean DiChristina has graciously agreed to pay for half of the shuttle’s costs. Nonetheless, for the foreseeable future, the Budget Committee and the SGA will maintain the previously mentioned budget cuts to ensure that other clubs and organizations will have the maximum funding available. Approved new campus organizations will also be able to be financed through the SAF, and will not be affected by any additional financial limitations. Budget Committee and the SAF will function as normal, allocating funding following the same guidelines used in previous years.
I would like to reiterate that I, along with each of your elected representatives on the SGA, am accountable to you as members of the student body. We are all strongly committed to the Trinity community and understand the responsibility and accountability that this entails. I hope that all who read this letter feel better informed about recent events and the status of the SAF. I will notify the student body of any other important updates if and when they arise. If you have any further questions about these changes in specific or Budget Committee in general, please contact me at SGAVPofFinance@trincoll.edu.
V.P. of Finance
Class of 2018