A very important area where you can lend your expertise to student organizations is in the realm of financial situations. Student organizations at Hamilton are eligible to receive funds from the Student Activities Fee through Student Assembly. Detailed guidelines are updated annually.
Money problems most frequently happen in the following area with student groups:

Offers & Contract Preparation

This is an area where you need to be involved. Students are encouraged to contact outside vendors, speakers, performers, and other artists to inquire about their pricing and availability. Such inquiries should be purely exploratory; students should not outright ask a vendor or performer if they would accept a specific amount of money, as this then implies we are offering this amount of money.

Once the student organization has the vendor or performer's availability and pricing, an official offer letter will be prepared by Kaity Werner, Assistant Director of Student Activities. Any negotiation that occurs based on this offer must be reviewed and approved by Student Activities.

STUDENTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SIGN CONTRACTS.  This must be done by a Student Activities staff member, or the advisor, if this is something the advisor has the College privileges to do. In New York State, verbal or email offers are legally binding, so it is important that students refrain from agreeing via email to a set price before funds are approved by Student Assembly.

Contracts are legal obligations and you should help them read the fine print. If a group defaults on a contract, consequences could be severe.

Proper Documentation For Reimbursements

Disbursements of funds must be handled according to the procedures outlined by Student Activities and Student Assembly. Organization officers have the opportunity to request a cash advance (up to $400) or a credit card to make organization purchases. In some cases, check payment is preferred by the vendor. If a student does not request a cash advance or credit card to make their purchases, they have the option of paying out-of-pocket and getting reimbursed for their purchases from the organization's budget.

It is imperative that organizations submit their reimbursement requests to Student Activities in a timely manner. Once the semester ends, we will not provide reimbursements for purchases incurred during that semester. Organization leaders must provide all original, itemized receipts from their purchases. If there is tax on the receipt, the student will not be reimbursed for the tax because Hamilton College is a tax-exempt organization. 

Good Financial Ideas for Groups to Follow

  • Set up a system of internal checks and balances. The knowledge about where money is coming from and going should not be limited to just one person.
  • Come up with realistic budgets prior to events and then follow them. While it may be unrealistic to try to plan down to the penny, it is important to have direction. In fact, Student Assembly requires a detailed budget outline prior to its approval of an event or activity.
  • Student groups are not required to collect dues, but frequently dues provide sufficient income for club operations.


Kaity Werner

Assistant Director of Student Activities

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