By Janeth Beltrán Apodaca | Staff Writer
As the 2021-2022 school year came to an end, the Associated Students of Whitworth University (ASWU) have completed their new budget for the upcoming academic school year.
The budget this year included several unique issues, but always centers around supporting student organizations and the student body as a whole.
“[We were] trying to determine how much we could support groups individually so that they are successful while making sure that we are supporting other groups at the same time,” said Georgia Goff, the School Spirit Coordinator and the 2022-2023 school year’s ASWU President.
One of the issues the ASWU budget is directly connected to is the level of enrollment and retention of students. A fee of $125 is included in every student’s bills to fund the ASWU organization.
“We are currently watching the official enrollment numbers and will be acting accordingly with regard to our budget and the distribution of funds,” Goff said.
To approximate the budget for the following year, AWSU “projects how many full time students we’re going to have in the fall and spring,” said Abigail Douglas, the Finance Director of ASWU.
In terms of distribution, the finance and budget committees work all year to make fair and informed decisions to ensure these numbers have “good authority behind them,” says Douglas.
Another issue this year’s budget addressed is the merging of several ASWU positions to save money.
The merging of ASWU’s Communications Director and PR/Marketing Coordinator into one role and shifting the Neighborhoods senator to a representative position were made to save additional money on operating costs.
Additionally, next year’s budget will not include the fee ASWU typically paid to the Spokane Transit Authority for bus passes, since these are now being covered by administration through an increased parking pass fee.
In the spring of 2021, ASWU executives had to make last minute adjustments to the budget after students voiced support for keeping the bus pass program, which was originally going to be eliminated entirely in order to keep costs down. With student support for the bus pass program, however, ASWU chose to cut costs in other areas across campus, including ASWU Executive team member salaries, student media salaries like yearbook, Whit.fm, and the Whitworthian, as well as a $10,000 cut overall to the intramurals and Outdoor Recreation programs, and a few other $500 to $1000 cost saving measures in various programs.
This year’s executive team made it a point to try to both keep the bus pass program and find a way to restore as much of the budget as possible to its previous levels. After a lot of student feedback and brainstorming by ASWU members, the executive team found a way to have the administration cover costs through a raised parking fee.
All of this effort means that this year’s budget attempts to restore funding to many of these areas of campus.
Ultimately, ASWU members communicate, the budget serves students.
“ASWU is ultimately for our students and their voices are integral to all that we do. This sentiment extends to the budget and, in fact, all of the groups that we support financially have the chance to explain how much money they are requesting and for what reasons. It is from that student input that we are able to make a decision on how to divide our funding,” Goff said.
And for any students wondering how the budget is designed….
“Coming to an ASWU meeting and speaking your mind or sending an email to someone who has the funds in ASWU makes all the difference. We are here to represent you and to serve student interest,” says Douglas.