On Sunday, the Student Council’s Business and Finance Committee (BFC) announced the allocation of this year’s spring semester funds reserved for student organizations. According to Vice President of Business and Finance Melissa Nixon ’23, about $185,000 was requested in total across 47 groups. The committee ultimately allocated about $116,000 and provided at least partial funds to all but three organizations, who received nothing.
The spring semester allocation follows the extremely rapid depletion of this fall semester’s supplemental funds, all of which were exhausted by mid-September. The BFC hosted a town hall meeting in October to raise awareness of this issue, which Nixon noted was partly due to the current student activity fee of $125, an amount that was instituted during the pandemic. Many of the BFC’s recent struggles to adequately fund student organizations has been due to the fact that this student fee has not been raised back to their previous amount of $150 since in order to support post-pandemic activity.
In an effort to alleviate the challenges posed by the BFC’s financial constraints, the committee has encouraged organizations this semester to reallocate unutilized fall semester funding toward the spring semester. According to Nixon, this carryover hasn’t been allowed in the past but was necessary this semester in order to provide adequate funding to as many groups as possible.
As a result of the lack of money, only 23 organizations received full funding. The organizations that received the largest full-funds were the Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) club, which received about $6,780 for its speaker event; Kenyon College Players (KCP), which received $6,450 to be directed mainly toward props, sets and costumes; the Black Student Union, which received $6,450 to be directed mostly toward services and accommodations for its Black History Month speaker; and the Coalition for Christian Outreach, which received about $5,680 for a Jubilee conference.
The organization that received the most funding was the Horn Gallery, which was allocated $16,500. It was denied only the $500 it requested for art grants and was funded $2,000 less than it had requested for artist honorariums. The money the Horn Gallery did receive will be used to replace sound equipment and pay sound technicians, as well as to pay honorariums for five or six bands and to provide accommodations such as dinner, transportation and lodging for visiting artists. Horn Gallery Manager Eli Haberberg ’23 noted that the large funds the organization received are necessary in order for the Horn to carry out its unique day-to-day operations of serving as a public venue space for students to enjoy free entertainment. “The Horn’s sizable funding is a natural extension of our every event being free and open, both to the Kenyon community and the general public — a feature which distinguishes the Horn from the majority of student organizations,” Haberberg wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The entirety of our funding is implemented toward events shared by the community at large, at no cost to the student body.”
Stephanie Kaufman ’23, artistic director of the Kenyon College Players, noted that the popularity of KCP shows has led to an increased need for funds. “We’re hoping to implement more performances of our shows because we’re not always able to get everyone who wants to see our shows in to see them. There’s limited seating in every venue we perform [at], so adding an extra night to our shows will allow more people to see them,” Kaufman wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The BFC was able to help us with the money that we need to provide more to campus with each production. This is one of our biggest goals for next semester, so it’s very exciting.”
In its attempts to best support the endeavors of as many organizations as possible, the BFC ultimately had to deny some organizations any amount of funding in order to scrounge together more money for organizations that demonstrated more critical need. These three organizations; Beekeeping Club, Photography Club and Persimmons, were all fully denied. Persimmons failed to attend the hearing, while Beekeeping Club was encouraged to reallocate their unused fall funds. Photography Club, which requested $3,360 in order to buy 20 disposable cameras, 50 printing books and a photo printer to be kept in the Craft Center, was denied in full. This was partly due to the BFC’s judgment that the cost of the disposable cameras, $21 each, was too high considering the low quality of the photos they would produce.
Despite many of the BFC’s financial challenges this semester and its inability to fully fund every request it receives, the vast majority of organizations were funded with enough money to help support the goals and visions of each group. “Our reaction to receiving funds was relief and gratitude. I’d like to think KCP has a good working relationship with the BFC, but it’s always nerve-wracking to ask for funds, especially when it’s a lot of money,” Kaufman wrote. “They’re obviously not able to fund every project request that comes their way.”