(TLDR: Your money is in -our- good hands.)
Welcome to the Monash Financial Times! (Just kidding, this is MUSA’s Annual General Meeting where we talk about spending and financial accounts based on previous year budgets and our current budget.) Both MUSA 2020, MUSA 2021 as well as several student representatives were present to discuss several matters ranging from Budget 2021 to the comparison of MUSA 2020’s spendings to MUSA 2019’s.
(If you’re wondering, yes, MUSA requires funding from the university to carry out activities and where does the funding come from? You may watch this video but in short, the General Amenities fees that students pay every semester will be split into 60% to University Managed Funds and Capital Expenditure while 30% goes to MUSA and 10% goes to MUPA. And what does MUSA do with the 30%? Those giveaways, care packages, gift vouchers, prizes, events hosted by Activities or MUISS, all of those will use the funds that have been allocated from the 30%. In short, it goes back to the students through social activities, academic and medical welfare as well as representing the student body in academic governance. If there are no General Amenities paid, the funds are taken from Monash Reserves and MUSA will work within a budget to allocate them.)
Comparison of Spending
The AGM started with the Comparison of Spending between MUSA 2020 to MUSA 2019. The President’s Department(inclusive of MUVP) saw an increase in budget as most of it was used on purchasing Tokens of Appreciation from both Subcommittees of MUSA and MUSA 2020 Office Bearers. The General Secretary department used the least budget while the Vice President’s department saw an increase due to heightened online initiatives. As for Divisions, the Clubs and Societies division saw a drop in budget as Monash Cup was held online and MUISS saw an increase due to initiatives to incentivize international student participation.
For the Activities department, there was also a drop in budget due to the cancellation of the Monash Ball and online initiatives are comparatively cheaper. As for the Publicity Officers, there was an increase as more budget was required to attract more traffic to MUSA Official accounts (Website, IG etc.) Not only them, the Editors department too had an increase due to additional events, new equipment as well as subsidizing the delivery cost of the MONGA Mega Issue. The Womxn’s department saw almost a similar amount for both years and the Schools collectively saw a decrease in budgets as events were all taken online.
According to the Analysts Report, the COVID-19 Pandemic has caused a major shift in terms of budget, there are two sides of the spectrum where cancellation of face to face events have caused cheaper online initiatives to emerge, where the drop in budget can be seen and on the other hand, new initiatives and increase in incentives for student engagement have caused a significant rise in budget for certain departments. The Clubs and Societies Division saw the largest decline for budget while the Editors department had the largest increase in the share of budget.
2020 Financial Report
Next, the 2020 Financial Report was presented. The President, Vice Presidents, Activities, Editors, School of Medicine and Health Sciences as well as the School of Pharmacy Departments are reported to have overspent, where they have spent more than what was initially budgeted at the beginning of the year. Guryon, President of MUSA 2021 questioned Kyt Mun, President of MUSA 2020 on the usage of the President’s department funds to which Kyt Mun explained that the MUSA Token of Appreciation was broken down into approximately RM150 x 300 Subcommittees and Office Bearers. The remaining departments and divisions have reported to have under spent their budget.
About the Proposed Budget for 2021, the initial amount of RM540,000 has been reduced to RM500,000 recently. To combat this cut, the Monash Finance Department and Student Life has advised to generate an additional revenue of RM40,000. However, the MUSA Treasurers of 2021 have concluded that it is not possible to do so. Therefore after the first semester, budgets will be reevaluated and departments will be advised respectively.
‘Save Now, Spend Later’
While incentives have increased throughout the semester, many events still have low response and it is believed that departments are underspending due to overestimation. The MUSA 2021 Treasurers have proposed to adapt a ‘Save Now, Spend Later’ strategy as the anticipation for on campus learning will require more spending later on.
Overall, all documents are reported to have a true and fair view. This was verified by the 2021 Auditors: Woon Shyh Jia, Cheng Wen Yun, Muhammad Jahangir Ateeq and Low Ming Suan as well as the 2021 Analysts: Jonathan Melchiades Rutayebesibwa and Wan Sofea Hassanah.
And we’ve come to the end of the AGM 2021. We understand that this may be a tad bit too long and looking more like lecture notes than a typical MONGA Article so if you actually made it to the bottom, congrats! You’re a champ.
Written by Christie Wong
Header by Angeline Ho