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Board sets budget for academic year

Ashley Charnley | Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) approved its revised budget Wednesday with a majority vote.

The new budget presented to the Board had the same numbers as the previous budget, but student body president Rachael Chesley said the finance committee added a rationale, which helped clarify the decisions they made.

“The finance committee was happy it was brought back to review so they could come up with a rationale and really be able to solidify why decisions were made in the first place,” Chesley said.

Two concerns voiced in last week’s meeting were about the amount of money allotted to class boards and where the Capital Fund, money allotted for general campus improvements, would go.

Class boards had asked for additional funds to pay for events such as parents’ weekends, but Griffin said that would be out of the realm of possibility.

“We felt like we weren’t sure where we were taking money from to give class boards,” Griffin said. “The only way we could possibly make a difference would have to give you tens of thousands of more dollars.”

Griffin also explained the need for the Capital Fund to help make improvements around campus, including renovating the student government offices and putting funds into Dalloway’s, the campus clubhouse.

“Money from the Capital Fund would come into play,” Chesley said. “It is the leverage we need to fix things on campus.”

Money that could be used for an updated version of the Notre Dame co-exchange program was added to the budget.

The program, which was cut at the beginning of the academic year, allowed 75 Saint Mary’s students per day to have a meal at Notre Dame’s dining halls at no additional cost.

Students have expressed concern over the cancellation of the program, which is now only available to students who need the tickets because they have classes or commitments at Notre Dame during meal times.

Chesley said the addition of a budget for a new “social” co-exchange program doesn’t guarantee a new program will be formed, but will allow the Board funds to move forward on the issue.

“I think we could do it and this is going to give us the financial leverage we need to even consider the different options for co-exs,” Chesley said.

Chesley said she and student body vice president Laura Smith have continued to work on the issue, and are working on exhausting their options.

“The goal that we’re looking toward is getting some form of social co-ex tickets back to students, free of charge to students,” Chesley said.

After discussions closed, the budget was put to a vote and was passed by majority vote, meaning the Board can now start giving funds to campus boards, clubs and organizations.

“We now have a budget. We can move forward with the year,” Chesley said.