Campus Ecology, one of the student organizations responsible for Solarfest, a festival of solar-powered music, took about a 90 percent budget cut for the fiscal year of 2017.
On Sept. 20, Campus Ecology came to the Student Assembly meeting having submitted a request for funds totaling $25,250.
Because the request was submitted late, the Student Assembly had to give them a budget of only $2,200.
Each year, the Student Assembly is given a certain amount of money to give to student organizations that apply for funds past the deadline.
Members of Campus Ecology said that their treasurer from last year told them the request for funds had been submitted on time.
However, because that student is no longer a student at Keene State and the request cannot be found, it was considered late.
“If they had submitted it on time, they would have been included in the budget that Student Assembly assembled for all student organizations,” said Campus Ecology Advisor and Political Science Professor Dr. Wes Martin.
He continued, “Having failed to do that, they would then have to come back to Student Assembly, as they did, and ask to be funded out of reserve funds,” said
Martin said that normally, this reserve fund consists of more than $100,000 and this year, because the college is in debt and spending must be reduced, the reserve fund budget only contains about $20,000.
This money is to make up the budget of all 11 student organizations who requested funds after the deadline. Campus Ecology’s President Rose Lovett estimated that last year, Solarfest cost “around $20,000.”
These expenses were covered by Campus Ecology, WKNH radio as well as additional funds from the Student Assembly. Lovett said that it’s likely this year they will have a scaled back version of last year’s Solarfest.
“It was two or three years ago that we started working with WKNH, so we’ve been having a much larger budget [and] getting more well-known bands. I think this year, it’ll have to be local bands who are willing to play for free,” said Lovett.
Campus Ecology members argue that because Solarfest normally is on the same day as one of the admitted students’ days, that it is very beneficial to the college’s ability to attract new first-year students.
“We’ve heard from at least one student who specifically said that they came to the college because of the experience they had at Solarfest during admitted students’ day,” said the club’s secretary James Spineti.
Lovett also said, “It shows that the college cares about sustainability. I think it shows parents that there are safe and fun events at Keene State.”
There is a chance that Student Assembly will have their budget increased if the financial administration can step in and allocate more funds for clubs and student organizations.
“We think Student Assembly gave us as much as they could. The next step is going to be organizing with other clubs and then hopefully from there, we can take it to administration,” said the club’s campaign manager Erik Labieniec.
Campus Ecology’s members affirmed that they were not the only club who had taken budget cuts this year and that they and several other clubs will continue to seek funding.
Elliot Weld can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org