The Daily Gamecock

Student Government may run out of funds for the 2nd year in a row. Here's how the senate is hoping to change

<p>FILE — Third-year accounting student Hannah Augsbach Lamma answers a question at the Student Government debate on Feb. 15, 2023. Lamma is the current treasurer for USC's Student Government.</p>
FILE — Third-year accounting student Hannah Augsbach Lamma answers a question at the Student Government debate on Feb. 15, 2023. Lamma is the current treasurer for USC's Student Government.

Student Government’s organization fund will run out before the end of the fiscal year for the second year in a row after spending too much money too fast on student organizations. A finance ad hoc committee was formed to challenge this trend.  

Student Government received around $185,000 at the beginning of the fiscal year from USC's campus activity fee in July to fund hundreds of student organization programs, events and tournaments. The finance committee allocated at least $149,000 to student organizations during the fall semester, which has forced student organizations to budget without one of their main funding options for the rest of the year. 

“It is super unfortunate that we don't have enough money to necessarily get us to the end of the fiscal year,” Student Body President Emmie Thompson said. “But we've tried to communicate, as well as (find) possible organizations to request early to ensure that you do get the funds you need."

Student Government formed an ad hoc committee in November for finance reform, chaired by Chair to the ad hoc committee Jacob Vaught, as a result of the financial disorganization.

The ad hoc committee for finance reform is working to get more funds from the USC student life department, establish stricter allocation guidelines and mandate that only half of the student organization funding pool be used per semester.

Under current regulations, a student organization must attend a treasure's workshop, provide an invoice and go to dialogues with the finance committee in order to receive funding. No organization is limited to an amount it can request.

One major proposed change to allocation is limiting the amount of money one organization may spend to $10,000 each fiscal year. At least four student organizations have already received more than $10,000 this fiscal year.

The committee will present its report on finance reform during student senate on Jan. 31. The committee will recommend changes to the code of law to make allocations "more equitable and easier to read," Speaker of the Senate Cameron Eubanks said during student senate Jan 24.

"We will tackle a possible increase in the campus activity fee, and what that number will look like and the data that supports that,” Eubanks said.

After the report, the next steps for the Student Government’s fund allocations are unclear.

The finance committee has been criticized for fulfilling funds requests on a first-come, first-served basis and for having a pool of funds that hasn’t increased in a decade.

Treasurer Hanna Augsbach-Lamma said she assumed money allocations wouldn’t run out until the end of the fall semester. 

“Our (allocation of) funding this year kind of accelerated as the semester went on," Augsbach-Lamma said. “There was a pretty small amount requested that first week, and then it nearly doubled the second week.” 

Around fall midterms, Vaught and other senators realized that Student Government would run out of money before the end of the semester, he said. 

Augsbach-Lamma said organizations can apply for grants in specific colleges to help fund their activities.

South Carolina Student Legislature is a mock-legislature student organization that had to apply for a grant from the Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning to fund the organization’s legislative session, which occurs once every semester, in spring 2023. 

Former South Carolina Student Legislature President Weston Watts said he felt Student Government left his organization “high and dry.” 

Other organizations could be left without financial support from Student Government if the finance committee continues its trend of how it allocates funds.

Augsbach-Lamma said in-need organizations may apply for funding outside Student Government allocations using a list of campus-wide grants that her office is compiling.

“Frankly, I don't think I would do anything differently,” Augsbach-Lamma said. “The only thing that needs to happen in the future is that we need to advocate for more money to go into the activity fund, which me and Emmie (Thompson) are currently doing.”


Thompson, who represents students on the board of trustees, said there is no agenda for the board to vote on a larger budget or fee for campus activity at the moment.

Thompson said she is wants to advocate for a larger campus activity fee, which for the 2023-24 fiscal year costs $87 to undergraduate and graduate students.

"The hope is that in the future, we will have a bigger money pool in general," Thompson said.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified which committee Vaught is chair over