This semester, the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC) has $270,000 to allocate to student activities. The budget includes $55,000 rolled over from the SAFC’s $165,000 fall budget. The budget for the 2020-21 academic year is $380,000—a dramatic decrease from the $810,000 allotted for the 2019-20 academic year.
Although the SAFC’s total budget has decreased by more than half, Chair of the Treasury for the Bowdoin Student Government Prithvi Gunturu ’22 is confident the budget will be more than adequate and may even result in leftover funds.
“There are less ways to spend it. So, we’re gonna have some remaining,” Gunturu said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
Last semester, the SAFC received $165,000 to distribute to clubs. The budget is dependent on the number of students enrolled. Typically, the SAFC receives a budget for the entire academic year; however, due to the uncertainty around enrollment numbers for the spring semester, the College decided to allocate SAFC funds separately for each semester.
In the fall, the SAFC distributed $110,000 of its $165,000 budget to student organizations. Gunturu said many organizations’ typical expenses, such as traveling to conferences, hotel costs and club competitions, have been eliminated due to COVID-19 restrictions. The major expenses for the fall semester included speakers’ fees, honorariums and book clubs—all of which require less funding than travel.
Unlike in previous semesters, where clubs on operating budgets cannot ask for funds after their budgets have been submitted, Gunturu is allowing organizations with operating budgets to request funds throughout the semester. Clubs without an operating budget will continue to submit requests as they arise as in any other year.
“It makes it easier for everyone, just because things happen unexpectedly. So, given all the restrictions, if [an operating budget] club needs funds immediately, I’m allowing the clubs to come back and ask,” Gunturu said.
With the flexibility and the belief that funds will be readily available throughout the semester, Gunturu encourages students to reach out throughout the semester because funds will not roll over into the 2021-22 academic year.
“We have $270,000 now. It’s there for us to use. So, let’s use the money to make this school better,” said Gunturu.