Afull budget breakdown of Guild affiliated societies has been revealed to Exeposé.
Bracton Law Society is the richest on campus, according to Guild figures. They currently have a positive balance of £58,396 in their account – more than double the amount of the second richest society.
The society has 900 members and a one year membership costing £30, as well as an option to spend £45 and £60 for a two-year or three-year membership respectively. Bracton Law also depends on “committee legacy”, whereby a proportion of the balance from previous years is passed on.
This is in addition to donations from external sponsors, including over 30 law firms and seven barrister chambers. However, donations BLS receive from sponsorship deals cannot be revealed due to confidentiality agreements.
Bracton Law’s substantial budget is spent on large social events, producing three magazines each academic year, mooting competitions at national and international level as well as numerous volunteering projects locally and abroad.
President Leonie Mcquaide said: “Our budget is testament to how active and ambitious Bracton Law are as a society. The BLS focuses on providing members with a holistic experience, enabling them to network with legal professionals, build diverse legal experience and also take part in some of the best opportunities on campus.”
Second richest out of Exeter’s 200+ offerings is Body Society (Body Soc), with an overall balance of £27,042. Boasting the largest number of members at 1176, a standard one year joining fee costs £20. Regular fitness classes are organised for members, with a significant cost in paying professional instructors. Society members have to pay to attend classes, albeit at a subsidised rate. Despite attempts to contact a representative, Body Soc declined to comment on the justification behind their healthy finances.
Dance Society’s budget weighs in at £14,231, ranking them as the third richest society on campus. They have 308 members with a joining fee of £24 and this term also benefited from a Guild Society grant of £500. Society Treasurer Merve Mollaahmetoglu told Exeposé: “I think the only reason we have so much money this year is because last year’s committee were strict on expenditures. I’m not surprised due to our high membership figures and all our money is spent on enhancing the experience of our members.”
Rounding off the top five are Business and Finance Society and Gilbert & Sullivan coming fourth and fifth with £12,334 and £9,658 respectively.
BFS is a 434-member strong society and has a membership fee of £10, while G&S has ten members with a fee of £15 to join. Harry Keay, BFS Vice-President said: “I am not surprised as to how much money the society has as it corresponds to the amount of student interest we are lucky to get.” G&S President Katie Lockwood was surprised at their rich list ranking, commenting: “Our society always struggles to make as much money as we spend in the year.”
Exeposé has also discovered that eight Guild affiliated societies are currently in deficit, according to the budget breakdown figures. At the time of print these were: Acapella, Armenian Society, Campus Cinema, Women in Business, Exetech, Jewish Society, Malaysian Society and Creative Futures.
Popular umbrella society Acapella, which includes groups Bluebelles, The Harmonics, Illuminations, Madrigals, Sweet Nothings, Take Note and Semi- Toned, are in deficit to the not-so-sweet tune of £2,647. However, they are owed money by the Guild.
Acapella Publicity Secretary Alison Sinclair said: “We are operating on what looks like a deficit because we don’t want to forgo opportunities for the society, such as the US tour. Put simply, it’s down to cash flow timing differences, but we aren’t spending beyond our means.”
Edward Ng, President of Malaysian society, which is £939 in debt, told Exeposé: “The Guild should not allow us to be in such great debt to begin with so in that sense they should have done a better job. I think the issue sometimes is that the turnover in staff occurs so often that noone actually knows what is going on.”
According to Guild policy, once a society goes into deficit, meetings are held to plan a pathway back into positive balances. Occasionally, a society’s debt is authorised when an event or trip justifies the excess expenditure.
Out of Exeter’s six political societies, the Conservative Association have the most cash, with £1,846 compared to the UK Independence Society’s budget of just under £40.
This term Kung Fu, Dance, African- Caribbean Society and Orchestral Society all received the largest Guild grants, at £500 each. £20,000 worth of grant money is available to Guild societies a year. 51 grant applications totalling over £18,000 were submitted in term one, and 27 societies were successful in receiving extra funding.
Katie O’Connor, VP Activities, said: “Societies each take an independent approach to sourcing funding to supplement membership fees. The Students’ Guild encourages societies to seek funding from sources such as sponsorship, Societies Executive grants, the Annual Fund and fundraising, as well as using their membership money. This money is then used to ensure that society members – and committees – are provided with a varied, enjoyable and developmental experience.”
Budgets for student groups, such as Raise and Give Society, Exeter Student Volunteers and Xmedia, were also made available to Exeposé. However, as these groups receive funding from the Annual Fund and donate to charitable causes, the data is non-comparable with other societies. For the purposes of transparency, Exeposé’s current budget stands at £2,607.
Exeposé attempted to contact the Athletics Union President, Manager and Press Office but no budget breakdowns for AU clubs could be provided. Further investigation will follow.
All figures are accurate at the time of print.
Sarah Gough & Susannah Keogh, Editor & News Editor