Georgetown University Student Association President Calen Angert (MSB ‘11) has been fighting for months to fulfill one of his campaign promises: the Georgetown Fund, a GUSA-controlled fund for student groups. Last Sunday, he got his wish when the GUSA Senate approved the creation of the Fund. It’s unclear, however, whether the Fund is about helping students or about helping GUSA continue its feud with the Student Activities Commission.
The Fund is intended to be more transparent than SAC, while also providing money faster to clubs. According to the legislation, clubs will be able to apply for the funding and receive it a week later.
Five members will be nominated to the Fund by Angert, and then confirmed by the Senate. These five members will then meet once a week to review funding requests. Only $500 will be given initially to each organization, event, or initiative. Additional requests will have to go before the entire Senate for approval. The money will be drawn from surplus club funds. However, only clubs recognized by SAC will be eligible for GUSA funding.
The Georgetown Fund was created for an admirable purpose, since the process for obtaining funding through SAC is convoluted and drawn-out. While the Fund has been presented as something with clubs’ interests in mind, it has strong undertones of the ongoing battle for supremacy between GUSA and SAC.
Angert has been a long-time advocate of reducing the amount of reserves clubs have on hold, and he has called SAC irresponsible for having such a large reserve fund.
Additionally, the bill creating the Georgetown Fund was introduced by GUSA Senator Nick Troiano (COL ‘11), an ardent critic of SAC who once held a sit-in at a SAC meeting to protest the organization’s lack of transparency.
It seems that GUSA’s intentions are good, but whether GUSA can truly create a new funding system that works better than SAC’s established one remains questionable. GUSA already has to hold special elections in order to fill empty seats. Will it be able to find five more dedicated people to administer the Fund?
Instead of creating a new funding structure, GUSA should seek to reform the existing one—even if that means tangling with SAC.
SAC has become bureaucratic and pedantic, but it is still the primary method for funding clubs. Instead of going around the problem, GUSA should face the head issue head on and push for SAC reform.