The Georgetown University Student Association Senate voted 24 to zero with four abstentions to approve the $310,000 Student Activities budget for next year, allowing GUSA President Pat Dowd (SFS ’09) and Vice President James Kelly (COL ’09) to go ahead with their Summer Fellows program. Representatives of the six funding boards and GUSA drew up the budget at the Funding Board meeting last Wednesday.
The Funding Board also allocated $10,820.35 of the $44,000 leftover Student Activities Fees from last year to the GUSA Summer Fellows program, enough to house five students this summer, but only a fourth of what Dowd and Kelly had requested. Dowd said he is exploring options for how the program could accommodate more than five students, such as a special deal from housing, outside donations or additional money from the Funding Board. The application for the program was sent out Tuesday evening.
“I have no idea how many [applications]we’ll receive,” Dowd said. “It could be 20, it could be 100, it could be 500.”
GUSA also asked for $20,000 to set up a GUSA Summer Club Fund, a second resort for groups in search of funding. The Funding Board did not make a decision on the GUSA Club Fund, but will be meeting again later this semester to discuss it. A number of representatives of student groups showed up at the meeting to air their frustrations with the Student Activity Commission.
Although Senator Sebastian Johnson (COL ’10) made a motion to table the budget, Senator Zack Bluestone (SFS ’09), chair of the GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee, argued that the boards needed to be able to distribute the money to student groups as soon as possible and that tabling the budget would hurt the chances of the Funding Board coming to a consensus on the GUSA Student Club Fund.
“[Tabling the bill] will bleed any leverage we have and make us look terrible,” Bluestone said during debate. “I know there are people on the Funding Board that will flatly reject [the GUSA Club Fund]if we don’t pass the funding bill.”