CS40 to propose annual budget
Tuesday, April 20, is a hallmark in Congress of the South 40 history: The budget will be presented, but not voted on. For the first time, CS40 representatives and members of the South 40 will have a full week to think about the proposed budget before voting on it.
The change is intended as a step toward transparency in CS40. Having one open assembly for students to critique and make suggestions for the budget helps to promote awareness and the value of student input.
Freshman Joe Sutherland, the Speaker of CS40, is really looking to increase transparency and good will on campus.
“When people see the CS40 logo they [should] say, ‘Oh wow, this is a great organization,’” Sutherland said. “We’d love to see increased respect and recognition for CS40.”
This attitude is being applied to the budget process.
“[We want to be] making more transparency in the budget and allowing other members of CS40 to have a greater voice because it’s their money also,” freshman Alina Cohen, the new Director of Finance for CS40, said.
Members of CS40 will be voting on the amended budget the next week, instead of a few hours after changes are proposed.
“If someone wants to rally support for a certain change ,they’ll have more time to do so.” Cohen said. “I think this will facilitate discussion among CS40 members.”
The budget process for CS40 is not well known—no copies can be found online, and few people are aware of it. Still, the assembly will be open to the public and anyone is invited to watch the deliberations, appeals for funds and final vote to pass the budget.
Though few people know about CS40’s budget, a portion of it comes out of every resident of the South 40’s housing payments. Though the budget for the coming year is not finalized, CS40 provided Student Life with last year’s budget. This past academic year, each student paid $142 of his or her housing costs to the CS40 budget. Of that amount, each student got $28.40 back in such things as the water bottles at the beginning of the year.
Last year, the portion of CS40’s total budget that came from student contribution topped $80,000. This was divided among the many functions that CS40 serves.
As a programming board, CS40 allocates funds to programming on the 40. This includes the money given to college councils for residential college programming. Their programs are separate from the programs sponsored by RAs, and are allocated to each residential college based on population. This past year $56,000 was divided among the college councils.
The money also goes to the different CS40 committees. These committees help to program the various events that occur on the 40, such as cultural events, the CS40 formal, ResCollege Olympics and any activities on the Swamp, including WUStock.
Student groups can appeal to CS40 for funds to put on events on the 40. In some cases, these groups go to CS40 for funding to supplement the money that SU has given them.
The executive staff of CS40 is rewarded for its efforts. The five executive members of CS40 are given a housing allowance equal to the cheapest double on the 40.
“We do require that they live on the 40; that’s part of the reason they get compensated for housing,” Rebecca Madson, the assistant director of residential life and CS40 advisor said. “Our view is they do a job similar to the RAs.”
Of the CS40 budget, $35,000 goes toward part of Madson’s salary, and $22,836.00 goes to a business manager.
CS40 also spent $14,200 on a retreat for the members to encourage leadership and bonding.
“It’s very important that the group of them all function very well,” Madson said. “Even though they each have their own jobs they also support each other a lot. Staff development, we feel, is very important to be able to do that.”
She emphasized that the main purpose of CS40 is to give back to the residents of the 40.
“We know we’re responsible to the 3,000 on the 40,” Madson said. “It’s their money. We try to give the majority of the money back to the students.” Madson noted that the Cardinals game that CS40 is sponsoring on Friday costs only $5 per student.
He Qi, the former Director of Finance who made this past year’s budget, sees it as a changing entity that is made to respond to student’s needs.
“I think that the CS40 budget is very flexible in many areas and the budget truly reflects the large amount of programming we do every single week,” Qi said. “I think CS40 needs to constantly remind ourselves that we should not take it for granted, and we are always looking for the most efficient way of spending money to meet the students’ ever-changing needs.”