SGA Finance Committee cuts most funding requests by more than 50%

Posted April 12, 2018

As the clouds slowly gave way to partly sunny skies, the faint sounds of cows mooing could be heard outside of the University Center. Interested students stooped by the pen to meet Bob and Charlie, two dairy calves that were enjoying their friendly pats. A short walk along the wet sidewalk led students to an exhibit featuring some sleepy pigs. Another few feet led to the Agriculture Business Marketing Society booth, where student could learn about celebrities who grew up on farms.

These sights and sounds were just part of the activities students that were offered to participants during the Collegiate Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day on campus last April 25. However, some of these sights and sounds might be disappearing from this year’s event, due to budget cuts from the Finance Committee.

This year, the Finance Committee, a subcommittee under the Student Government Association, cut $228,518.23 from budgets requested by 50 organizations. Budget cuts were prominent, with 31 student organizations receiving less than half of their requested budgets.

“We get student enrollment projections from the budget offce and multiply that by the organization activities seg (segregated) fee,” said Gabe Stanko, Finance Committee director. “Once we get that total, we take 10 percent of that and move it towards the single-event funding pool. The remaining amount is used for annual budgets.”

Recognized student organizations can request two types of funding: single-event funding, which is requested for a specific event and can total up to $1,500, and annual budgets that are a number of line items that can be used throughout the academic year.

The Collegiate Farm Bureau received just $4,600 of the $9,050 requested this year. This year’s budget is $1,900 less than last year’s budget the organization received, said Matt Kortbein, president of the organization.

“The disparity in our request and allotment will be impact in the budget and the goals we have for our event,” Kortbein said. “Because we utilize these funds primarily for Ag Day on Campus, we will need to be more judicious with our budget and potentially hire alternate speakers. Also, we will provide less material (and activities) for students that participate.”

Kortbein said the cuts will affect the number of promotional items they can purchase for Ag Day, including the popular t-shirts. He also said they will have to decrease the amount of advertising they are able to do because of cuts to their advertising budgets.

Kortbein also said that any remaining budget is used for professional development and learning opportunities for members of the organization. These include attending conferences and Future Farmers of America events to help members prepare for careers in various aspects of the agriculture industry. Some of these opportunities include the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Annual Convention, Ag Women’s Summitt and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Discussion Meet Contest.

Falcon News Service asked the Finance Committee for records of the funding requests it received over the past five years, along with its ultimate allocations, but committee members said they did not have those records at hand. They promised to try and comply with an FNS request for those documents under Wisconsin’s Open Records Law, but they missed the deadline for this story.