Since the pandemic put an end to in-person gatherings in March 2020, members of Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) have passed bills and resolutions from the comfort of their bedrooms.
But on Sept. 14, the Joslin Senate Chamber was full once again.
In its first in-person meeting in more than 18 months, ASG allocated its first round of student organization funding and approved its internal operating budget (IOB) for the fall semester.
This year, ASG’s total student organization budget is more than $1.7 million. Secretary of Finance Ben Waugh said this total is significantly higher than usual because ASG had such a large surplus from last year – more than $950,000.
“We have such a high surplus because student orgs barely spent any money last year, because they couldn’t,” Waugh said.
ASG already allocated about $360,000 of that $1.7 million for Mega Fair, the IOB and to place some funds into reserve. This leaves about $1.4 million available for student organizations to request.
In the first of five rounds of allocations, 82 organizations were granted a total of just less than $120,000. About $50,000 in additional funds were requested but not granted for various reasons – most often because the funds were requested to buy food, which ASG cannot grant money for.
“If a student organization uses our money to buy food and then somebody has an allergic reaction, they can then come back and sue the state,” Waugh said. “A lot of organizations that are new aren’t familiar with the funding process, and they say, ‘Oh, we want to have a pizza party,’ but we can’t fund pizza parties.”
Seven organizations – Chabad, Cru, Comparative Education Club, Spectrum, Miami University Student Foundation, Stage Left and Dance Theatre – were granted more than $5,000 in funding.
For ASG’s fall IOB, just more than $2,800 was granted to nine of the 15 cabinet members. Combined with about $7,300 allocated for the summer, ASG has spent just more than $10,000 of its total budget for internal initiatives so far.
ASG’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in the Joslin Senate Chamber at 6 p.m.