In November 2021, ASW reported their budget for the 2021-22 academic year with certain line items zeroed out. This has initiated a revision in the ASW financial code, due to a lack of funds from low enrollment.
The ASW budget is used to enrich Westminster College students’ experience and comes from student fees, according to Oliver Anderson, ASW adviser and director of student involvement and orientation.
The financial code gives a general breakdown of the budget and procedures, Anderson said. Even though it changes year to year, there are parts of the financial code that dictate how much goes into certain accounts, according to Anderson.
“I think it’s important to note [there are] some line items on there that are zeroed out. They don’t have any budget,” said Brendan Sudberry, ASW president and senior communication major, in a November interview.
Sudberry said budget constraints have spurred the suggestion of revisions to procedures and policies. Low enrollment has made certain requirements, like the 35% budget allocation for Events, more difficult to balance with other accounts, according to Sudberry.
The Special Project account is “the president’s personal special projects fund. And the President every year generally just doesn’t use it, or they use it for things that [they] could have collaborated with a different branch to just utilize their budget,” Anderson said.
Anderson said ASW decided to zero out the president’s special projects funds for this year as the budget begins to decrease. This also caused the ASW Handbook account and the Election fund to be zeroed out since there is a surplus left over each year, according to Anderson.
Revision of the Financial Code
“[The ASW budget is planning on] taking away the percentage and having the event’s president propose their budget for the year. So even though there won’t be that same percentage, it won’t necessarily be lower,” said Ashlee Szwedko, ASW Events president and sophomore neuroscience major.
Adjusting the percentages of accounts is being proposed in the revision due to lower enrollment, according to Szwedko.
Additional factors have also played a role in the revision of the financial code.
“[The Budget is] not very easy to look at, even for somebody like myself who’s read it multiple times,” said Reid Neal, ASW director of budget and accounting and junior communication and business major.
Neal said he is revising the financial code, in part to help funds be more efficiently allocated and create better transparency for students. Neal said other changes in the code revision include:
- Updating the language used on the opportunity fund
- Enacting a financial oversight committee in the Senate
- Incorporating the Eco-Warrior Grant into the budget
These revisions would make it easier for those who may apply for ASW director of budgeting and accounting in the future, according to Neal.
The Eco-Warrior Grant encourages students to turn their research, class projects and initiatives into action, according to the ASW Student Funding webpage. The grant was included because it is a shared responsibility with ASW and the Environmental Center, even though it does not come from the ASW Budget, according to Neal.
Neal said he hopes to present the budget for Senate approval in the next Senate meeting Feb. 28. This would allow changes to be implemented for next year’s financial code by the end of Spring semester.