SBP Hot Topics: Student Orgs

Student Org panel during Civics Week Fall Semester | Photo from The King's Players

Student Org panel during Civics Week Fall Semester | Photo from The King's Players

Voting for the next Student Body President begins today, bringing a week of campaign events to a close. A large part of the this week’s conversation centered on what to do with the increasing number of student organizations.

There is $13,000 to be distributed to each student organization at King’s. At the beginning of the academic year, there were 17 organizations, but now, there are 20. With the quick growth of organizations on campus, there are numerous solutions proposed by the Student Body Presidential candidates.

The three candidates for Student Body President wish to address students organizations in completely different ways. However, the SBP doesn’t have as much influence as some may think.

Nick Beckman, Director of Student Organizations, explained that the SBP does have some influence, but that the big decisions should ultimately fall on the shoulders of his position. The SBP chooses who the Director of Student Organizations should be for their elected term.

Beckman set aside a discretionary fund of $1200-$1500 at the beginning of the academic year, created with the intention of dealing it out to new organizations as they pop up. Since he has taken on the role, there have been three new student organizations.

Given the varying sizes and missions of student organizations, a tier system for student-led groups seems inevitable.

Elle Rogers, a candidate for SBP, wants the tier system, giving priority to those who need the money the most. She wants to add their voices in on the Council. Ian Wilson says it’s the job of the Council to get organizations what they need, specifically with training. On the other hand, Brandon Smith believes that King’s current amount of student organizations is not sustainable, which he plans to solve by working from the bottom up by meeting with small groups and organizations.

“I think as we continue to grow, there will need to be some sort of restructuring on how orgs are handled,” Beckman said. “It’s no secret that different orgs have different scopes and scale.”

Budgets for different organizations are not solely decided upon by the SBP. Organization money is distributed by the Budget Committee, led by three house presidents, the SBP, the Director of Finance, and the Director of Student Organizations. When crafting budgets, students come up with a proposal that they bring to the Committee on what they want their budget to be.

Having 20 student organizations puts a lot of pressure on an already tight budget, Beckman said. An increase in organizations creates a challenge to get everybody what they want, and more importantly, what they need in terms of money and training. Out of the 17 student organizations that presented their proposals at the beginning of the year, only one was fully funded.