Budget Committee Funding Guidelines


The Carleton Student Association (CSA) Budget Committee (the Committee) will use cost-benefit analysis, community-building values, and its reasonable fiduciary responsibility to members of the CSA to reach conclusions on how to distribute CSA funds. These funds, generated from the Student Activity Fees and other sources of revenue, will be used to fund opportunities for Carleton students in a way that most effectively benefits the college campus within the academic year it is collected. All matters not addressed by the bylaws are at the discretion of the Committee. The following guidelines establish the objective principles and financing framework that the committee endeavors to follow in the exercise of its discretion. The Committee will enforce the bylaws as stated.

Section I — General Principles

  1. Funding exists to create meaningful opportunities for the Carleton community.
    1. The Committee is inclined to fund opportunities that benefit and are open to as much of the Carleton community as possible.
  2. Funding shall only be available to chartered student organizations. Individuals requesting on behalf of their organizations must be designated, through election or appointment, as an Officer within their organization.
  3. Organizations are required to maintain a current list of officers, including a Treasurer, with the Student Activities Office (SAO) in order for the Allocation Request to be considered. Failure to provide officers will preclude the Committee from funding their proposal for allocation.
  4. The Committee reserves the right to request pertinent information related to a Funding Request, including but not limited to quotes from retailers, communication with relevant college authorities, and leadership appointment. The Committee may deny or table any Request that does not include pertinent information.
  5. Requests should demonstrate support for the organization’s mission. Representatives should be prepared to explain how requests relate to the organization’s charter.
  6. The Committee reserves the right not to fund programs that do not benefit the broader Carleton community, including but not limited to career preparatory events, job training, courses that offer certification, internships, and research-related events.
  7. Requests shall not be accepted retroactively, except in cases for which the Committee was unable to address business in a timely fashion.
  8. The Committee may not fund Requests which would be heard less than seven days before the event, except in extraordinary circumstances. Thus, Requests must be submitted by 5 p.m. the Tuesday at least eight days before the event. Extraordinary circumstances must (1) exhibit rationale that the Request could not have been submitted by the deadline and (2) impose no unreasonable burden on SAO and its staff. A two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Committee is required to allow the Committee to hear the request.
  9. Funding should be used in the most environmentally friendly way possible, in accordance with College commitments to sustainability. The Committee is disinclined to fund requests that include the purchase of goods that are not compostable or reusable when feasible.
  10. Organizations should buy from small and locally owned businesses whenever possible. 
  11. The Committee is disinclined to fund events that benefit individuals who are not members of the CSA (including students of other schools) unless costs are distributed proportionally to the participation of Carleton students.
  12. The Committee shall not fund seed money for events or enterprises in which proceeds will monetarily benefit any person or organizations other than the CSA Senate and its official Committees.
  13. The Committee cannot fund events scheduled after the last day of Spring Term classes and before the first day of Fall Term classes. 
  14. The Committee reserves the right to deny funding to requests it deems unreasonable.

Section II —Sources of Funding

  1. For programs and events, organizations should first look to campus offices and departments that may have related interests, such as the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Chaplain, the Career Center, SAO, PEAR, CCCE, OIL, and ISL.
  2. The Committee encourages the use of CSA funds from sources than Special Allocations (i.e. Snack Bev, SAO Metro Access Fund for trips to the city, SUMO co-sponsorship for screening rights, the Cave co-sponsorship for artist fees) where applicable.

Section III — Travel and Off-Campus Events (during spring break):

  1. The Committee will allocate a Spring Break Fund during Spring Allocations.
  2. The Committee is disinclined to fund more than three-quarters (¾) of the CSA Activity Fee per person participating in a trip ($310.5 per person for 2023-2024).
  3. The Committee is disinclined to fund more than 10 times the CSA Activity Fee for a Spring Break Trip.
  4. The Committee follows Sections IV through VI when funding spring break trips.

Section IV — Travel and Off-Campus Events (during the term and winter break)

  1. The Committee prioritizes funding for events that are held on-campus, are held during the term, or have previously been funded by the CSA.
  2. The Committee cannot fund office or otherwise departmental off-campus events.
  3. The Committee is disinclined to fund air travel (i.e., plane tickets) for more than two students to travel within 420 miles of Carleton or for teams to fly to tournaments during the term.
  4. The Committee does not fund more than four times the Student Activity Fee (i.e., $1,656 in the 2023-24 academic year) per off-campus event, rounded up. The Committee funds students attending the same off-campus event.
    1. Within 420 miles: the Committee is disinclined to fund more than the Student Activity Fee (i.e. $414 for the 2023-24 school year) per student towards off-campus events within 420 miles of Carleton.
    2. Beyond 420 miles: the Committee is disinclined to fund more than 1.5 times the Student Activity Fee (i.e. $621 for the 2023-24 school year) per student towards off-campus events more than 420 miles away from Carleton.
  5. Organizations must demonstrate the selection process used to determine which members attend the off-campus event in their request.

Section V — Conference Funding

  1. A conference is an off-campus event where students gain knowledge to bring back to campus. Conference Funding is subject to all guidelines from Section III and IV and will be treated as such.
  2. The Committee reserves the right to not fund chartered student organizations that have not attempted to obtain a second source of funding such as but not limited to fundraising, funds from departments or affiliated offices, and grants, whereby proof of such attempts must be reported in the funding request. 
  3. The Committee requests that organizations demonstrate a reasonable selection process to determine who gets to attend a conference. Organizations should be prepared to explain how this conference will benefit all members of the organization (i.e. how members who attend will present their knowledge to others). 
  4. The Committee requires that organizations demonstrate a reasonable selection process to determine who gets to attend a conference.

Section VI — Food

  1. The Budget Committee is disinclined to fund food unless the food provides a learning experience or is essential to a cultural event.

Section VII — Cultural Programming Funding

As a part of the CSA’s commitment to supporting cultural expressions and educational opportunities within our campus community, the Committee provides funding for student-organized cultural events and programming.

  1. In order to qualify as a cultural event, proposed events must clearly represent, celebrate, or educate about a specific culture or a range of cultures.
    1. Cultural representation and celebration can be expressed in various forms, such as exhibitions, performances, culinary events, film screenings, workshops, lectures, and panel discussions.
    2. Educational aspects can inform participants about the significance, history, and context of the cultural elements being presented. This can include personal narratives, informal discussions, storytelling, informational displays, or interactive educational sessions.
  2. In accordance with Section VI of the Financial Guidelines, in order to be funded, any food and refreshments must be essential to the execution of the event and should directly contribute to the event’s cultural or educational objectives. The Committee cannot fund food and refreshments used for any other purpose, including but not limited to: food for general or board meetings, being an incentive to increase attendance, or otherwise to reward/thank students.
  3. The Committee encourages events that involve collaboration with other student organizations, departments, offices, or external cultural groups.
  4. While programs are generally encouraged to be open to all students and embrace participation from diverse cultural backgrounds, it is acknowledged that certain cultural celebrations or events may be more appropriately conducted within the confines of the organization itself, provided they adhere to the principles of respect and inclusivity.

Section VIII — Events and Programs

  1. Events should be well-organized and planned well in advance.
  2. If the event involves a speaker, the speaker must have an opportunity to interact meaningfully with Carleton students.
  3. Events must be publicized extensively and well in advance, including but not limited to Campus Announcements and the Campus Calendar. If attendance is limited, signups must be advertised and open to the entire campus. The Committee encourages organizations to advertise events through Campus Announcements.
  4. Decorations for events such as club supplies, shall be preserved for future events whenever possible. Organizations should aim to use reusable decorations in line with College commitments to sustainability. The Committee is disinclined to fund requests for decorations that are disproportionate to event attendance.

Section IX — Printing and Publications

  1. Copies intended for off-campus distribution will not be funded.
  2. The use of on-campus Print Services is strongly encouraged.
  3. Publications are strongly encouraged to gauge readership and accordingly print an appropriate number of copies in order to reduce waste in line with College commitments to sustainability.
  4. The Committee is disinclined to fund more than one-half (½) the Student Activity Fee ($207 for the 2023-24 school year) for the first edition of first-run publications.
  5. The Committee strongly encourages color printing for publications in which the images used are original creations by the student(s).

Section X — Equipment

  1. Equipment funded by the Budget Committee must be stored in an area that is accessible to all members of an organization.
  2. All goods purchased with the CSA’s funds belong to the CSA. No goods shall be funded that will become personal property. Personal property shall be defined as material goods that remain in the possession of an individual (or individuals). Publications shall not constitute personal property.

Section XI — Advertising

  1. As the least expensive option, 8 1/2 x 11-size paper is preferred.
  2. Organizations receiving funding are strongly encouraged to utilize all advertising opportunities, such as posters, Campus Announcements, the CSA Events Calendar, social media, banners in Sayles, etc.
  3. Generally, advertising funding will be allocated at $6 per event. The Committee shall consider the size and scope of the event to determine if additional funding is reasonable.

Section XII — Other

  1. The Committee is disinclined to allocate funding towards students receiving direct financial compensation.
  2. The Committee cannot fund political campaign contributions, lobbying efforts, alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, and donations.
  3. While the Budget Committee cannot directly fund donations, chartered student organizations may seek donations for charitable endeavors without CSA funds.
  4. Honoraria for performers shall not be funded until the availability and willingness of the performer(s) have been confirmed.
  5. Contracts must be made as follows:
    1. An authorized employee of the College shall sign all contracts for performers.
    2. All contracts for goods and services other than one time performances made on behalf of the CSA or a CSA chartered student organization must be reviewed by the President, Vice President, and Treasurer prior to engagement or renewal. Following the majority approval of Senate, the Treasurer and the relevant authorized College employee must sign all contracts.

Section XIII: Grandfathered Exemptions

Grandfathered Exemptions are exemptions from specific CSA financial guidelines granted to accommodate events that have a long tradition in Carleton history: the event has been consistent for at least five years whenever applicable.

The following is a list of every group and event that is exempt from given sections of the Financial Guidelines or CSA Bylaws:

  1. Late Night Trivia (Exemption to personal property guidelines Section X.2, applies to prizes)
  2. Rotblatt (Exemption to personal property guideline Section X.2, applies to T-shirts)
  3. Student Band Union – Farmstock (Exemption to food guideline Section VI)
  4. International Festival (Exemption to food guideline Section VI)
  5. Most SAO/SAPB events (Exemption to transportation guidelines Section IV; Exemption to food guideline Section VI)

Budget Committee Procedure in the CSA Bylaws

  1. The Committee shall be responsible for the allocation of funds and shall serve as the advisory committee to the Treasurer as is deemed appropriate.  
  2. The Committee shall have weekly meetings throughout the academic year during all weeks Budget Request Forms have been submitted as described in Item G.
  3. The Committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer, who shall not vote except when a tied vote must be broken.
  4. The Senate shall appoint two Senators and thirteen students-at-large. Students-at-large may keep their seat until they go off campus, are no longer enrolled, or graduate. Former Committee members wishing to reapply shall be given priority when considering applications.
  5. Decision making power will be vested in the Committee with a quorum. A quorum will be defined as the presence of a majority of the voting members.
  6. The Budget Committee shall allocate from the funds as described in Article VII of these Bylaws, unless otherwise stated.
  7. The Treasurer, in conjunction with the Communications Officer, will ensure that Budget Request Forms are available to the CSA and serve as a contact for questions about the Form or the budgeting process. Budget Requests for events should be submitted well in advance of the event taking place. Budget Request Forms must be submitted by 5pm the day before the Committee meeting. Thus, the request must be submitted nine days before the Wednesday before the event. Requests not submitted on time can be heard by the discretion of the Treasurer according to the financial guidelines.
    • Alternatively, if the event takes place within the first two weeks of the term, the request must be in by the Tuesday of the first week.
    • Events that take place before the first meeting of the term must have received funding in a previous term.
    • Organizations may use their Operating Budget to fund supplies for the Fall Term Involvement Fair without CSA approval.
  8. The Committee shall consider and deliberate on requests in sessions open to the CSA, except for Spring Allocations.
  9. The Committee shall consider all of the following criteria when evaluating a budget request:
    1. The most efficient use of funds within CSA Chartered Organizations and the Carleton community, paying particular attention to previously and simultaneously scheduled events, as well as the current amount of available funds.
    2. The number of people in the community that will be served by the organization and by the request.
    3. The number of students in the organization, looking at past and present data.
    4. The past performance of the organization, including the success of their previous events, management of funding, consistency in organization, and amount of interest the group generates.
    5. The future stability of the organization.
    6. The organization’s priorities.
  10. In addition to following the above criteria, the Committee shall encourage the organization to seek alternate sources of funding, when relevant.
  11. Any organization may appeal the Committee with an edited Request Form or returning to the next Committee meeting. Organizations may also appeal to the CSA Senate as the overseeing body of the Budget Committee if they feel they have been treated unfairly in the Committee’s review of their request.
  12. Instances of reported financial misconduct shall be resolved by the Treasurer in consultation with the Executives, relevant organizations and the College.
  13. The Budget Committee may table a request to the next week with a three-fourths (¾) vote of those present. Should this motion make it impossible for the party requesting funding to re-apply to the Committee, it will be considered a zero dollar recommendation.