MCSG approves new budget

By Peter Wright

The Macalester College Student Government approved this semester’s student organization budget at the Sept. 22 meeting, allotting a total of $75,917.87. While many of the org budgets are similar to past years, this budget was approved amid an effort to change some of the practices in the government’s budgeting committee.Laura Bartolomei-Hill, the new chair of the MCSG Financial Affairs Commission, said there has been an effort to make the FAC process for granting funding requests more organized and open.

Of the student-run orgs at Macalester, 12 outside of MCSG received over $1,000 each. Together, those organizations received over two-thirds of the total monies allotted.

The Mac Weekly received the largest amount of money, $15,500, for printing and insurance fees, followed by WMCN with $8,600. EXCO received $5,103, making it the third largest allotment, and Chanter, the campus literary magazine, ranked fourth with $2,095. MCSG earmarked $17,104 to spend on its textbook subsidy program and the school’s subscription to the New York Times.

Three heritage groups also ranked in the top 10. Adelante, the Asian Student Alliance and Afrika received $1,698; $1,682 and $1,506 respectively.

Outing Club, Mac Bike, Kilt Krew and Mac Martial Arts all received more than $1,000; and Bad Comedy rounded out the orgs receiving more than $1,000, requesting $1,160 primarily for “props, programs, [and] publicity.”

Most organizations were given $100 “Flexifunds,” a change in terminology for an old category. Bartolomei-Hill said the groups would previously receive $40 at the beginning and end of each semester specifically designated for snacks. This semester the FAC made the snack funds available throughout the year for different projects and added $20 for each org.

Bartolomei-Hill said the committee will be working more closely with group leaders to monitor the planning of FAC funded events before they happen.

“I don’t think that the FAC’s job should be giving out money to anyone who asks for it,” she said.

She said that the response from clubs has been positive, for the most part, but some have expressed concerns about the process.

“People get really defensive about money in general,” she said.

In addition to increased oversight, Bartolomei-Hill said she is trying to increase organization within the FAC and accessibility overall.

“We’re trying to update the student government Web site and put more of the forms online,” she said.

Academic Affairs Commission chair Aaron Brown ’10 said that he has seen major improvements with the recent changes.
“I’ve never seen the FAC at this level of competence, clarity, focus on mission and accessibility,” Brown said.

Bartolomei-Hill said the changes have been made possible with the help of all the current members of the FAC.

“Everyone on the FAC is just really nice,” she said.