SA to invest $1.5 million in working capital to meet student needs

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The Syracuse University Student Union has about $1.5 million in working capital, according to SA President David Bruen and Comptroller Nyah Jones.

The working fund consists of any remaining income from student activity fees after registered student organizations and extracurricular programs receive funding for the semester, Bruen said. The normal size of working capital is between $100,000 and $500,000, but the fund swelled when many events were canceled or moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The (amount of money dispersed) between our last two years due to the pandemic was like half of what we used to see,” Jones said. “Even last year, with a lot of second half restrictions lifted and organizations getting back to normal, it was still at a different pace.”

SA may use working capital for initiatives that are not generally possible under the organization’s tax codes. Last year, he used the funds to provide free food to Juice Jam students, Bruen and Jones said.

Bruen and Jones said they hope to use the money to increase sustainability investments at SU and continue the menstrual products initiative. They also plan to support on-campus pantries as well as organizations that serve underrepresented students and student-athletes.

“This is probably going to be one of the best years of student programs we’ve seen in a long time,” Bruen said. “We will also strategically invest in initiatives that will truly support student life for years to come.

SA tax codes place organizations into tiers that determine the maximum amount of funding they are eligible for based on expected attendance and an estimated cost of $45 per student.

Tier 1 organizations can request up to $12,500 in funding, Tier 2 organizations can request up to $20,000, Tier 3 organizations can request a maximum of $40,000, and Tier 4 organizations have funding requests over $40,000, Jones said.

As SA leadership rewrites tax codes this year to improve clarity, Jones wants to ensure that small on-campus groups that serve underrepresented students have access to event funding, despite their size.

SA Levels Chart

Santiago Noblin | Designer Editor

Jones said many of these organizations don’t even reach the $12,500 maximum they can receive in funding.

“I was hoping the Minority Organizations Fund would fill that gap to allow (organizations) to really maximize their potential without being beholden to the cost per student,” she said. “If you see a really good event, you’re going to want to attract more people. But sometimes, to organize this truly great event, additional funding is needed.

Bruen said that even in years with normal working capital, SA strives to increase the transparency of the process compared to previous years.

“We need to create an amazing student experience,” Bruen said. “It’s student money. It should go to students.

Contact Danny: [email protected] | @dannyamron_

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