Warren approves higher retreat, internal budget

The Earl Warren College Student Council approved their budget unanimously last week, which included an allocation of $3,500 for an annual retreat for council members.

The retreat will last a whole weekend at an off-site location, which is not an unprecedented council plan, according to WCSC President Katryna Martens.

The amount is the absolute highest that the council will spend on retreat, which will cost about $34 per person, Martens said.

“The retreats are such an incredible opportunity to bond with people you’re going to work with for the rest of the year,” he said. “I’ve spoken to so many administrators and fellow council leaders, and they all say that it’s imperative to have the retreat.”

Warren’s student council retreat is different from the retreat held by the John Muir College Council, according to MCC Chair Neil Spears. Muir’s retreat budget totals $1,700 for three retreats throughout the year. However, MCC spends more on their retreats than is actually allocated, as it receives additional funding from sources such as Residential Life. College council retreats serve a greater purpose of building cohesiveness for college councils, according to Spears.

The Warren Student Council allocated $9,000 to its internal budget, which is spent on the council itself, this year, out of its total budget of $74,235. The internal expenditures are a jump from last year, when the council allocated $2,700, but ended up spending $5,016. The council is largely funded by a student fee referendum of $4 per student per quarter, which amounts to $52,800 this year. Last year, unpredictable costs caused overspending, but the boost to the internal budget this year will give the council more options, according to Warren College Student Activities Coordinator Brian J. Willess.

“It’s not unreasonable to put that amount in internal,” he said. “There are a lot of things you can’t see the cost of, like van rentals, phone bills and copies. But because it is in internal, if the money is needed elsewhere, the legislative board can vote to spread the money elsewhere.”

Because the council cannot request any more funds from outside sources, having a larger internal budget allows the council flexibility, Martens said.

There also was a carry-over windfall of $12,195, which translated into increased spending to the internal and Warren Transfer and Commuter Coalition budgets, which should be a major focus of the council’s finances, Willess said.

Currently, the budget has allocated $14,800 to WTCC, a rise from $7,500 last year. Warren College has one of the largest enrollments of transfer students, as over 73 percent of Warren students commute or are transfer students, according to Martens.

“The organization has quadrupled in size,” she said. “The importance of transfer and commuter student life made my decision pretty easy.”

The expanded internal budget was a result from last year’s experience, which was the first time the council had funds from the fee referendum, Martens said.

“Last year was more of an experiment,” she said. “I would rather have money there to spend than allocate less and end up spending money that’s not there.”

The internal budget is much larger this year because funding for “Welcome Week,” which costs $4,000, was moved into the internal budget from the Events Board, which received the funds last year.