Bellarmine Student Government Association held its semester budget meeting on Nov. 18.

Prior to the meeting, every registered student organization was required to send in a budget and be present for a budget meeting to go over each organization’s budget. Michael Ackerson, SGA vice president of finance said he was pleased with the way the meetings went.

“All of them went really well. Essentially everyone submitted their budgets on time,” Ackerson said.

Ackerson’s main goal was to make the meetings go smoothly.

“This is a beneficial process to both of us,” he said. “SGA benefits from having these meetings and you should benefit from having these meetings.  It’s just for clearing up information and issues.”

The budget meeting began with addressing each committee within SGA for comments and topics for the meeting. Most leaders waived their time. Helen Grace Ryan, director of student affairs, spoke about student satisfaction surveys that have been closing.

“We have done a lot of assessment this last part of the semester. We have done an undergrad student satisfaction assessment, graduate student satisfaction survey and climate survey. All of those have closed in the past two weeks,” Ryan said. “Hopefully when you come back in the spring, we’ll have a more informed idea about your student experience.”

Ackerson took over to discuss how money was allocated before discussion was allowed at the meeting.

“We want to be realistic, efficient and consistent with our use of money, so for budgeting purposes, I tried to use the full 90% (of Bellarmine’s allocation to SGA). I was within 11 cents. The students pay that so we want it to go back to them.”

This year, like last year, there was a flex spending account that was open for requests from RSOs, along with the opportunity to take money from other organizations’ allocations. RSO representatives were required to be present to defend allocations or present a request for more money. No RSO tried to take from anyone else. The limited discussions, which lasted just one hour and 14 minutes, were to request money from the flex account.

SGA president Ryan Stevens said he was pleased with how speedy the meeting was.

“The amount of money in the flex account was lowered (to $2,000), which led to less discussions, shifting more funding in the travel account, and the finance committee did a very thorough job of meeting with each RSO and analyzing their requests and giving a fair amount to each RSO.”

Ackerson added clarity to the reduction of funds in the flex account.

“Last semester it was $4,500 and it was too much. It was really good to have the flex account and that it was beneficial but towards the end of the meeting, groups were asking for money just to ask for money.”

Only 20 percent of the flex account was allocated at the budget meeting. Club soccer received allocation for shorts, Bellarmine University Gaming received money for catering and Spanish club received $40 for pizza. RSO leaders on campus were pleased overall with the process but offered feedback on how it could have gone better.

“I feel that things could be done differently,” Bellarmine Emergency Response Team Alexis Hadsell said. “It just seems that there is a lot of input on an RSO budget from people who do not really need to be involved.”

Club rugby president Anthony Duong said he thought the meetings that do not concern the budget at the beginning should be skipped for the budget meeting next semester.

“I think it would be beneficial for the future for SGA to really skip the formalities of talking about the other committees,” Duong said. “I do like the approval rating system that was presented. I really think the budget meeting should have been presented immediately after. Leaders on campus are very busy.”

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