By Myara Gomez
It’s a new year, which means new guidelines from the one and only Student Finance Board (SFB). Registered student organizations should be made aware of these new changes because it directly affects them. Some of these changes are in regards to food, travel, celebrations, retreats, sanctions and randomized audits.
According to the executive director of SFB and senior public health major Antigone Antonakakis, one larger change the organization has made lies with their base budget and special application procedures. First, SFB has replaced these with “flagship” and “standard requests.” A flagship request is for any event over $5,000. This allows student organizations to request funding for the full year and submit to the board for approval. Overall, this would give the board more time to approve these requests.
“The timeline for the previous funding requests was on a semester by semester basis. So an organization could only request funds for events that were in the current semester,” said executive assistant of SFB and sophomore accounting major Grace Raber. SFB found this to be inefficient and decided to change it to a yearly basis so organizations can plan more in advance. “...Several organizations would submit their base budget requests with multiple events, and the board would try our best to get funding decisions back to organizations within a timely manner, but it was difficult as our meetings were only three hours long.”
Antonakakis also stated that SFB is also now requiring randomized audits for all student organizations and this is being done by the assigned liaisons. This is to ensure that the funds are being used appropriately and so that the organization feels supported as well. These audits are replacing their office hours.
“Another big change is instead of weekly office hours, our members will be required to attend events across campus to audit and support recognized student organizations. Our goal is to build strong partnerships and support student-led initiatives,” Antonakakis said.
Digging deeper into the events themselves, SFB has made a lot of changes in that department. These changes are definitely smaller compared to the other changes but still important to keep in mind.
If a student organization is buying food for an event, it is required that they submit an itemized list of all food items being purchased. Also, food is always connected to a celebration so all events must be aligned with the organization’s mission or core values.
Some more changes to keep in mind are travel costs and retreats, retreats are no longer being funded by SFB. Registered student organizations will only be reimbursed for an event or travel to an off-campus location.
Some sanctions that will take place if a student organization doesn’t follow the rules are loss of bus privileges for a semester, a budget account freeze, funds drawn from the organization's cash account, or a written warning.
“Ultimately, we hope to work collaboratively to create a thriving environment for student-led initiatives, prioritizing creativity, innovation, and inclusivity. Together, we can elevate the TCNJ experience and leave a lasting legacy,” Antonakakis said.
Overall, these new changes were made to support student organizations and hopefully they all get to reap the benefits.