ASG Senate allocates about $29,000 in funding to student orgs, postpones debate on remaining $1,000


Julian Andreone/The Daily Northwestern

The Associated Student Government postponed the remainder of Wednesday’s funding senate to give Senators more time to deliberate and hash out differences of opinion.

Julian Andreone, Reporter

The Associated Student Government Senate allocated $28,906 of its $30,000 budget for additional funding to student organizations Wednesday. This number is significantly reduced from the more than $66,000 the body distributed in the Fall 2022 funding cycle.

Twenty student groups received funding during the meeting, which lasted five hours. Senators voted to postpone the rest of the funding process to next week’s meeting, just before Norris University Center closed at midnight. 

For Members Only, Alianza and Vibrant Colors Collective emerged with the highest allotments of funding. FMO, Northwestern’s premier Black Student Alliance, received $11,000 in additional funding –– more than one-third of ASG’s $30,000 budget.

Some representatives of student organizations who appealed for additional funding Wednesday said they lowered their minimum asks because ASG’s budget was limited this cycle.

ASG co-President and McCormick junior Molly Whalen said while ASG leadership did not advise students to take this approach, groups can adjust funding requests as they see fit.

But, she said ASG is lacking a significant amount of money to meet groups’ minimum requests. 

“The ASG Executive Board has shared data and a proposal with senior (NU) administration to shrink the approximately $650,000 funding gap between the minimum groups requested and the maximum ASG has to allocate,” Whalen said. “We are still in conversation with senior leadership.”

This funding cycle, ASG adopted reforms to increase efficiency and equitability in allocating student finances. SESP freshman Caleb Snead, who serves as chair of the Student Activities Finance Committee, said the most significant difference this year is the incorporation of the Congressional Board of Financial Review, which he has spent the last two quarters establishing. 

BOFR is a body of Senators who work with the finance committee to maximize the impact ASG funding has on organizational operations, according to Snead. 

Snead said collaboration between Senators and SAFC has also improved the funding process. Senators and committee members have been thoughtful and unified while assessing the impact funding –– or lack thereof –– may have on any given student organization, they said.

“I really appreciate our willingness to take our time with it,” Snead said. “Postponing the deliberation process is critical for us to really assess the needs and the impact of events for student groups.”

Speaker of the Senate and SESP junior Leah Ryzenman said giving senators the time and space to make difficult decisions about distributing finances during funding senate is crucial to ASG’s efficacy.

“The biggest reason for not trying to rush the process with our last amount of funding today is because we do want to be able to have these discussions,” Ryzenman said. 

As the meeting concluded, one Senator proposed cutting from FMO’s $11,000, arguing that it was unfair to spend over one-third of the Senate’s budget on one group. The money will fund a spring break trip next year to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which FMO says will help students learn about and engage with a landmark of Black history. 

FMO representatives rebuked this argument, saying it would be unfair to rescind the funding.

Ryzenman said debates like these highlight the different perspectives that make the legislative body diverse and productive. 

“When there is a difference of opinion, you give people the space they need to actually talk to one another,” Ryzenman said.

The funding is scheduled to be finalized at a meeting next Wednesday. 

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Twitter: @JulianAndreone

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