ABC Spending Guidelines

Extension of the Bylaws.

The following guidelines apply only to the spending of allocation funds by ABC recognized groups. ABC groups may spend revenue in any manner consistent with Columbia University policies and applicable law.

Allocation consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Initial allocations from ABC

  • Co-sponsorships from ABC

  • Co-sponsorships from other ABC groups

Revenue consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Income from events such as ticket and merchandise sales

  • Co-sponsorships from the undergraduate student councils, Columbia funds (such as the Gatsby or President’s and Provost’s funds) or non-ABC clubs

  • Gift accounts

ABC and its Representatives retain the ability to designate any income or funding as either allocation or revenue. Questions, concerns or suggestions for these guidelines can be directed to your ABC Representative or the ABC Executive Board at [email protected].


In approving expenditures for an event, ABC Representatives will consider per capita expenditures (such as food) based on the number of Columbia undergraduates attending.

The admission prices for non-Columbia University guests and non-undergraduates should reflect the per-capita net costs of their participation in the programming open to them.


Total spending on food and all food-related products (such as utensils, napkins, table cloths, etc.) may not exceed:

  • $5.00 per attendee for snacks study breaks, snack events, or for extended events such as conferences, research symposiums, or career panels

  • $9.25 per attendee for sit-down dinners or other event wherein food is a primary focus of the event.

  • $14.00 per attendee for formal banquet-style meals, usually only once a semester.

ABC Representatives have complete prerogative in determining which of the above guidelines to apply to each event as well as to adjust expected attendance numbers used to determine total spending on food especially in deciding to apply the $14.00/person guideline.


  • Allocation cannot be spent on publicity for events with attendance of 30 or fewer.

  • No more than $20.00 may be spent on publicity for events with between 31 and 100 projected attendees.

  • ABC Representatives will have complete prerogative in appropriate spending on large events with over 100 projected attendees.


  • Allocation can be used for, at most, 50% of Columbia A/V (tech) costs for student group events.


A “publication group-is defined as a group whose primary mission is to put out a publication or publications (see the ABC website for a list of group categories).

All publications must publish at least one edition at least one week before the last day of the academic year or they risk de-recognition. Exceptions may be provided by a 2/3 majority vote of the ABC Board.

Non-publication groups can spend a max of $100 of ABC allocation on publication-related costs and endeavors. 

If a group that is not currently recognized as a “publication group” wishes to produce a publication, it must:

  • Include the publication in its Constitution’s statement of purpose and have the Constitutional change approved by the New Group Recognition committee of ABC. The ABC will ensure that the publication’s mission is in line with the group’s overall mission and that it does not overlap with that of an existing publication.

  • Fund the publication entirely from revenue.

  • Recognize that recognized publication groups always take precedence in use of Columbia resources for publications.


For a Columbia team as (off-campus) visitors:

  • Allocation can (within reason) be used for registration fees

  • Allocation can be used for, at most, 50% of cost-effective transportation and lodging expenses

  • Allocation cannot be used for food for traveling groups while off-campus


Allocation can be used to fund up to half the cost of outside performers, speakers, accompanists, conductors, and outside composers. Eligible costs include speaker fees and reimbursements for travel expenses, but allocation may not be used to pay for honorariums. Exceptions must be approved by a simple majority of the ABC board.


No group designated as a “heritage month” may receive an ABC allocation of greater than $9,000.



  • Decorations are capped at 50% allocation, pending extenuating circumstances and price.
  • Decorations under $100 can be funded 100% by allocation.
  • Decorations under $200 can be funded up to 75% by allocation. 
  • The amount of allocation is calculated as a cumulative function for other costs, e.g. ABC allocation could fund $175 of a $200 decoration cost, and $200 of a $250 decoration cost.

Production items

  • Production items for Theater Performances is capped at 75% allocation


Music groups can apply for one-time co-sponsorships for recording albums at most once every four fall/spring semesters, specifically to cover 50% of the in-studio time cost for membership participation


Allocation may not be used to fund:

  • T-shirts or apparel items for groups (except those which will be used for several years as costumes or uniforms)

  • Events which fall outside the academic term except on a case-by-case basis

  • Awards for contests or tournaments, gifts, or direct donations to charity (though allocation may be spent toward the execution of the event)

  • Online advertising (such as Facebook ads) or advertisements which do not reach Columbia undergraduates student body

  • Web space, unless it is fundamental to the mission of the group

  • Community-building or bonding events that are not related to the mission or general programming of the group

  • Events whose target audience are not members of the Columbia undergraduate community

  • Photographers, video or camera operators

  • Recordings

  • Alcohol and tobacco products

  • Payments to other groups (such as for performance fees, membership fees or consulting fees).

  • Using allocation to fund purchases that raise revenue for student groups (ex: a group using allocation to purchase food items to sell as fundraising items to raise revenue)

ABC reserves the right to determine whether a given allocation expenditure is prohibited.


These guidelines represent a minimum set of standards for ABC, its groups, Representatives and Board. ABC will follow these guidelines in determining initial allocations or approving co-sponsorship requests and spending on individual events.

ABC’s Representatives and Board reserve the right to make additional decisions, cuts or adjustments when determining allocations for ABC-recognized student groups or in approving spending for a particular event as necessary.