Saturday, May 25, 2024

Empty pockets

the Weekly Sillimanian | October 12, 2023

The idea of “delayed gratification” has long been valued highly in the academic community. Students are taught that if they are persistent and patient, rewards will come their way. 

But what happens when the institution designed to serve and support these students fails to uphold its end of the bargain? This problem is the dilemma currently faced by the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG).

At the start of each academic year, the SUSG allocates funding to support its initiatives. In the past three administrations, budget appropriations were approved in September. These funds are distributed after carefully reviewing and approving budget proposals that set forth the financial needs for initiatives and projects targeted at improving the student experience.  

The problem, however, is that the SUSG has not yet published or completed the key budget appropriations for the current semester compared to recent administrations, where budget appropriations were already approved by September. This bureaucratic concern is causing severe problems across the board, risking the SUSG’s implementation of its initiatives. 

Although it’s worth emphasizing the tedious process of acquiring funds in the SUSG since it has to undergo various stages of approval, the absence of budget appropriations hinders the flexibility of expenditures and implementation of projects.

 Initiatives such as the SUSG Scholarship, University Thesis Grant, Gender Inclusivity Fund, and others need to be allocated immediately to guarantee their effectiveness. For instance, when a calamity takes place, the SUSG cannot utilize the Calamity Fund without the appropriations. 

What happens if—God forbid—a calamity strikes and takes a toll on our students? How will the SUSG be at the forefront in responding to such tragedies without proper access to the Calamity Fund?

Projects and services that are essential to the student’s welfare remain frozen, paralyzed by the lack of funds.

The consequences of this budgetary hindrance are limitless. The SUSG, created to champion the students’ interest and execute meaningful projects, is on the verge of being labeled dysfunctional at best and useless at worst. If we allow this issue to persist, we jeopardize not only the SUSG’s functionality but also the welfare and experience of the student body.

The clock is ticking, and we cannot afford to wait any longer. We are already halfway through the semester, and the longer we delay budget appropriations, the further behind we fall. The SUSG must act urgently and efficiently to ensure that the SUSG can carry out the work they were entrusted with.

The Weekly Sillimanian calls for the SUSG to resolve this budget crisis immediately. The future of the student body depends on it. Furthermore, let this crisis serve as a serious reminder that in the future, such lapses in responsibility will be unacceptable.

In the pursuit of academic excellence, we must not compromise the quality of student life. To the SUSG, the time for action is now. Let this be a lesson in accountability and a basis for a more efficient, responsible, and responsive student government that truly serves the needs of the Silliman community.

The Weekly Sillimanian has reached out to the SUSG President, Vice-President, and the Finance Committee on their timeline for the budget appropriations but has not yet received any response as of writing.


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