Where Has SUBU’s Activities Budget Gone?

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Since January 22nd, SUBU’s clubs and societies have been asked not to send in anymore applications for funding. In just 4 months, SUBU’s Funding Committee has not only used all of its £50,000 budget, but it has overspent by just under £12,000 on 29 different clubs and societies. This time last year, SUBU had spent roughly £20,000 less, so the next question is: where has all the funding gone?

The top three most funded clubs are Boat Club, the Falcons (cheerleading) and the Bobcats (American football), which altogether account for over half of the total expenditure for this academic year.

Similarly to the last academic year, Boat Club has again received the most funding, which, this year, has come to £16,773.36, according to the Funding Committee’s minutes available on the SUBU website. This accounts for a whopping 27% of the 2019/2020 funding pot. In fact, out of 106 societies, only 29 have been funded at all, with clubs receiving three-quarters of the assets. However, it is understood that not all societies require funding, and therefore this figure, in reality, is probably not as large.

However, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much money has been spent as a number of inconsistencies have been found between the expenses displayed on the webpage and the expenses published in the minutes. For example, while the summary of the minutes for Thursday 16th January states that Boat Club was approved an amount of £10,486, the minutes document reveals that the approved spending is actually £1400 higher than this. It is unclear currently why this is the case.

Connor Howarth, a committee member of the Pagan & Witchcraft Society, says that his society has been left feeling frustrated after having its funding application rejected on the basis that the funds have dried up. The Pagan & Witchcraft Society has received no funding throughout the academic year and is one society that considers itself underfunded.

Kristie Nyakuwanikwa, President of the African Caribbean Society, says, “the lack of funding restricts what we can do as a society as well which I think impacts our ability to cater to the needs of our society members, which will affect the status and reputation of the society.

“We strongly believe that activity funding in clubs and societies is something that requires heavy revision if societies at BU are to thrive and create the communities they aspire to build.

The previous committee of the African Caribbean Society left the society’s bank account in minus figures of over £100, which the current committee had to account for by holding a fundraising event. Had the funding committee been able to undertake this cost, the committee might have been able to use the fundraising event to kickstart the African Caribbean Society this year.

Moreover, SUBU uses a rating system whereby clubs and societies are ranked 1-5 stars based on a large number of requirements, including organising fundraising events, volunteering and attending skills workshops. The idea of doing this is that clubs and societies then should fundraise for themselves rather than going straight to SUBU for funding, which in essence, should make giving money to these societies fairer.

All but two clubs/societies who are five-star have received funding since September. In total, the sum of all the funding given to five-star status societies currently sits at £37,443.63. This equates to 5-star societies receiving 74.8% of the overall £50,000 budget allocated for society spending at the beginning of the academic year.

There are many unanswered questions that the Funding Committee needs to answer, including if the budget will be amended. Whether this growing issue will change next year is a question that we all are eagerly waiting to uncover.

Vice President of Activities, Lea Ediale, has been approached for comment and we are awaiting her reply.