The UGBC Senate and Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC) held a joint meeting on Monday night to discuss how to better fund student organizations on campus, in order to ensure that each club gets as much money for its programs as possible. While no conclusive solution was reached, both groups agreed that communication between the Senate and SOFC could be improved.
The SOFC e-board explained that over the course of the year, the organization has $480,000 to be allocated to about 140 RSOs.
“So far this semester we received requests totaling $760,441,” Lauren Beaudette, SOFC Treasurer and CSOM ’13, said in an e-mail. “Last semester our requests totaled $1,075,438.” As of this writing, SOFC has $700 left in its budget for this year and is expected to allocate all of that in its next meeting later this week. In addition to its original budget, the organization has $20,000 saved in its reserve account.
“I think it’s important that Senate and SOFC have a relationship regarding funding, particularly since light has been shed on the percentage of funding SOFC can allocate in respect to how much is requested,” said Layne Petrie, senior representative and A&S ’12. “If everyone is on the same page in implementing plans to get ahold of the money that each club needs, the system will work smoothly and in everyone’s favor.”
Beaudette said that approximately 80 percent of SOFC’s budget is allocated in the first round of budgeting, which occurs after clubs and organizations have submitted their primary budget.
“It’s very rare that a club would not get any money for their primary budget,” said Andrew Breger, SOFC chair and CSOM ’13.
According to him, the only reason to not fund a particular event for a club would be if the submitted budget does not clearly state the nature of the event. In this instance, the club may appeal the decision in a separate process.
“There is a lot of outreach to club presidents and treasurers to get as much information as possible about our procedures and policies, and they additionally have mandatory training hours with SPO [the Student Programs Office],” said Jeannine Williams, SOFC Secretary of Public Relations and CSOM ’14.
In addition, the SOFC’s guidelines are clearly posted on their website. “The process has become really clear,” Breger said.
Despite this, student organizations, club sports, departments or events within the UGBC, and registered and non-registered student groups, including organizations that have been denied funding by SOFC, regularly approach Senate for more funding.
“In years past, we have averaged an allocation almost every week, including multiple allocation requests on a single week’s agenda,” said Derek Lo, Senate president and A&S ’12.
Vanessa Gomez, vice president of Senate and A&S ’14, said that before funding a group, the Senate asks to see what SOFC gave the group, asks the group to do more of its own fundraising if possible, and asks the group if it has reached out to other clubs to collaborate on the event in question.
“We’re more in the planning process of that [funding] problem,” Breger said. “Our primary focus to date has been to effectively allocate the $240,000 we had to work with this semester,” he later said in an e-mail. “Now that we are out of funds four weeks into the semester, our focus will solely be on advocating for more funds and increasing transparency.”
According to Breger, the Senate and SOFC are planning on having another joint meeting to further discuss this issue sometime before spring break.