SA budget focuses on the Centennial
With the school year underway, Student Association Treasurer Hersh Agrawal presented the SA's budget for the 2012-13 academic year on Sept. 3 during the SA Senate meeting. The cur- rent budget totals $19,749.35, and its largest al- location of money, nearly $5,000, will be spent on Centennial events, Agrawal, a Jones College sophomore, said.
The total budget was determined based on a rollover of $5,936.35 from previous years; the $2.45 blanket tax on each undergraduate, totaling $9,310; and the revenue from the 2016 T-shirt sales, the Hedgehopper card and the blue owl T- shirt sales, Agrawal said.
According to Agrawal, in order to finance the activities the SA plans on hosting for the Centennial, extra fundraising had to be done.
"We've never pumped $5,000 into any one thing," Agrawal said. "We chose to fundraise on the side because we knew that the blanket tax was not nearly enough to do the cool things we wanted to do for the Centennial."
According to Agrawal, two T-shirt sales constituted the bulk of the fundraising: a class of 2016 T-shirt sale, sold to this year's matriculating class, and a blue owl T-shirt sale, sold mainly to parents during move-in. According to the bud- get uploaded to the SA website, the two sales
had profits of $1,487.74 and $256, respectively. SA President Sanjula Jain said she did not feel the SA's budget for the Centennial was nearly enough to cover the SA's expenses on events and marketing for that weekend. Jain, a Brown College senior, said the Centennial Committee initially expected costs for anything done by
the SA to come from the SA budget, but Jain pushed back on that and asked for additional funds. After writing to President David Leebron, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson, and Leebron granted the SA $11,500 for Centennial expenses, Jain said.
Part of the Centennial budget will go toward student-centered activities, such as the Centennial Picnic on Oct. 12 and the Student Vision for the Second Century Town Hall on Oct. 11, Jain said. Another part of the SA Centennial budget will be spent on marketing through flyers for both Rice and the SA during the Centennial, Agrawal said.
Agrawal said a part of the SA's own budget, separate from the Centennial budget, will be directed toward general SA marketing and merchandise. Jain said she hopes to promote aware- ness of the SA and what it can do for students.
"A lot of students don't know what we do," Jain said. "One of my goals is to market the SA." In addition, connecting to students through marketing and merchandise giveaways can help the SA learn how to better provide for students, Jain said. Agrawal said that compared to last year,
about $1,000 more will be going to market- ing and merchandising. That money has come out of internal expenses like retreats and food at senate meetings, he said. The general marketing budget is $1,000, and the merchandise budget is $2,936.16 according to the budget uploaded to the SA website. The SA plans to hold giveaways of small items like lanyards and whiteboards to encourage students to sign up for the SA listserv or talk to SA members in order to increase visibility and knowledge about the SA, Agrawal said.
Sid Richardson College sophomore Kara van Schilfgaarde said students are generally apathetic to their efforts.
"What [the SA does] is important, but I think the only people who care about the SA are in the SA," van Schilfgaarde said. "I feel like people try their best to ignore them."
The SA budget also includes a $2,350 allot- ment for annual events like Sammy's Picnic and Mr. Rice. The Hedgehopper card received a $1,800 budget based on the $50 fee extracted from each sponsor on the card, $1,400 of which has already been spent, Agrawal said. He said the other $400 will be used to continue promoting the Hedgehopper card.
A full breakdown of this year's budget can be found at http://sa.rice.edu/minutes, listed as "SA Budget 2012-13."
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