Over the past several years, Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) and the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC) in particular have seen a level of discontent from student organizations in regards to the current budgeting process. The FAC, too, has felt their role change from one of simply funding events to one of micromanaging the programs that occur at events; this is not the intent of the FAC, nor their place.

We have heard the feedback that student organizations and their leaders want a greater sense of autonomy and freedom in regards to the events they wish to hold. Most importantly, when money is allocated to student organizations, whether or not it is the intent of the FAC, a value judgment is inherently placed on the “worth” of the event.

As a result, this can sometimes be perceived as a judgment on the mission of the org, or the identities of those in the organization.

In an effort to respect and adapt to the changing needs of students and student organizations, the 2012-2013 MCSG is proposing a new system of budgeting. Our goal is to increase the autonomy and respect that student organizations receive while simultaneously continuing to be good stewards of the Student Activity Fee. We are internally referring to this new system as “block budgeting.” The primary changes that MCSG is proposing relates to increased flexibility—a student organization’s money, when allocated, is theirs to spend within MCSG guidelines. This means that when an event doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, that money is available to spend on another event without re-requesting the funds from the FAC. Consequently, in order to remain good stewards of the fee and ensure it is being spent responsibly, there will be an increased expectation of accountability measures to be completed by student organizations.

We hope that these measures alleviate the frustrations that student organizations feel with the budgeting process, and help to increase the autonomy that student organizations have to plan and execute their events and programs.

A full copy of the proposed financial code can be found at www.macalester.edu/mcsg.

The changes will be proposed to the MCSG legislative body 3/5 and the measure voted on 3/12 to be implemented this coming spring.

A meeting to discuss the proposed changes will occur at 4 pm on Sunday, 3/3, in the Harmon Room of the Library; if you want input in how the new system gets shaped, we need you to be there. We are excited about moving forward with the proposed changes, but we will only do so with the support and participation of the student body.

Old Budget

  • Line Item Budgeting—tedious and unnecessary.
  • Additional Allocation required to reallocate money.
  • Semester budget submitted to OrgSync.
  • Budget cuts made on a programmatic basis—e.g. no food no t-shirts etc. leading to micromanaging.
  • Additional Allocations submitted 2-weeks prior to an event in line item fashion.
  • $100 FlexiFund each semester.
  • No perceived measures of accountability.

New Budget

  • Budgeting in Categories: Food, Travel, Fees, Materials
  • Your money is yours to spend within MCSG guidelines—you can reallocate as you need within your org without submitting an additional allocation.
  • Budget submitted to OrgSync for initial review followed by an informal budget presentation to the FAC/LB to decrease assumptions made by the FAC.
  • Budget cuts made on a percentage basis—you decide how you want to compensate for the decrease.
    Additional Allocations submitted 2-weeks prior to an event in categorical fashion.
  • $100 FlexiFund each semester.
  • Increased accountability: must use checkbook function on OrgSync, must upload photo/scanned copy of receipts to OrgSync, must fill out an event follow-up form no later than 1-week after each event.
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