Opinion: Too much of budget being distributed to too small number of groups

With the recent release of student organization budget totals by the Student Government Association (SGA), a surprising number appeared: $31,185, which is the total funds distributed to four distinct groups on campus. Each of these organizations has something in common. They all center upon multicultural interests. Combined, the Multicultural Programming Board, Latinos Unidos (LU), the Black Student Union, and the Asian Student Organization received 54 percent of the total budget for all student organizations funded by SGA. This raises questions about determining a club’s worth and how funds should be allocated.
The greater problem, in my mind, is how such a large percentage of the budget was allocated to such a small number of groups. Other groups with greater learning outcomes are suffering from a severe lack of funds. One such group is SAGA, the literary and art magazine, which was not awarded any funds. It feels like we are beginning to distribute funds like a Miss America pageant. One contestant may have a better community service record, but the other has the prettiest eyes.
Group numbers seem to be the main determinant for a club’s budget. However, funds should be awarded based on what a club contributes to the campus and surrounding community. It should be merit based on improvement and goals, rather than merit simply based on popularity.
Breaking things down, LU has approximately 40 members, 20 of which are active. SAGA, which has been an Augustana staple since 1937, receives hundreds of submissions for their publication. There is a clear distinction between the numbers of individuals that are involved in both organizations. There is no other organization on campus that supports the publication of student creative and artistic works. Not to sound like Robin Hood, but would it be that detrimental to take a small percentage of the $31,185 allocated to those four groups and redistribute it elsewhere?
Campus presence often becomes the defense of such large organizations. One might argue that LU’s presence is larger from an advertising and programming standpoint, but with a budget that big, it makes the task easy. SAGA, who distributes a campus-wide publication, enriching and promoting student writers and artists, now has to struggle to fulfill their mission. The cost and worth of each organization simply doesn’t add up.
MPB is the one rarity of the three. However, the Office of Student Life and Leadership (OSL) should solely be responsible to financially support them if MPB is to be considered a branch of OSL. This raises questions of whether or not the organization is funded from two sources or one. They already provide the programming for all three of the other multicultural groups mentioned above, so why the need for such large individual budgets? We have entire offices supporting these organizations, support that other groups on campus don’t receive.
It’s time we revisit how we rate student organizations, how we distribute funds, and how we preserve smaller organizations that have a lot to offer our campus.