This year, in an email to the campus community, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Chair of the Treasury Harry Sherman ’21 released the first issue of the SAFC Digest, a monthly publication outlining major budgetary decisions of the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC). The top five clubs were the Entertainment Board, BSG, the Outing Club, Rowing and the McKeen Center. The Orient was in the seventh position. We believe that clubs that derive their funds from student tuition and fees should be transparent in how they spend their money. In the interest of this transparency, we have decided to publish the breakdown of our budget.
This year, the Orient was allocated $22,350.00 by the SAFC, roughly 3.1 percent of the total student activities budget.
• $17,100 of that is for printing costs. During the year, we print 24 issues at roughly $650/issue, along with three less-widely-distributed special issues (Orientation issue, Occident, and one special theme issue) per year, at roughly $500/issue.
• A further $2,050 is for operating costs, which includes office supplies and weekly snacks to fuel our long production nights.
• We received $150 for technology. This year, this is going towards phone call recording software and speech-to-text transcription software, which makes it easier for us to gather quotes from long interviews or events.
• $1,350 goes towards professional development. This includes holding staff trainings, attending college journalism conferences and paying submission fees for journalism contests.
• We spend $100 on a subscription to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
• We use the remaining $1,600 to bring in guest lecturers and compensate a professional journalist who critiques each issue, giving us valuable feedback since we don’t have a faculty advisor.
In addition, we sell ads in the paper every week, earning money beyond our SAFC-allocated budget. The income from these ads is used to award the hardest working members of our staff prizes at the end of the semester, compensating them for their significant effort and time sacrifices. Among college newspapers, financial concerns often play a part in who participates. These prizes help keep the Orient socioeconomically diverse.
That’s our budget. We applaud Sherman’s dedication to open access of information. As a group that regularly calls for campus transparency, it was time to do our part. We hope other clubs will follow our lead, so students can better understand where their money gets spent and how they benefit from it.
If you’re a club leader and want to share your budget, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is composed of Nell Fitzgerald, Dakota Griffin, George Grimbilas, Calder McHugh, Devin McKinney and Jessica Piper.