University supplies funds for student organizations

Almost every student organization here on campus must deal with budget management and distribution of funds.

Some meetings offer free pizza as incentive for new members or host events here on campus. The pizza and events have to be paid for somehow – many of these organizations relying on the University to provide funding.

Every year members of each student organization must calculate a budget to see their organization through the year. These budget requests are submitted to the Student Budget Committee for approval.

The SBC follows a list of policies for budget approval. The policy consists of fund regulation for food as well as travel. The policy also has a list of things that SBC funds cannot be spent on, such as gifts and scholarships, according to the Student Budget Committee Funding Policies.

Organizations are not trapped, however, if they don’t receive adequate funding. Organizations also have the opportunity to submit appeals to the amount of funding they receive. These appeals are then sent to the dean of students for a hearing, according to Jeff Coats, associate dean of students.

Student clubs also can request what is called “spot funding” for any unanticipated needs that may arise throughout the year. “Spot fund” requests can be submitted for up to $1,000 and must also go through review of the dean of students, Coats said.

“Approval of an appeal depends on the amount and the reason,” Coats said.

The committee issues approximately $450,000 of the University’s money to student organizations each year, according to Coats. This money comes from the general fee portion of each student’s tuition.

“Peers are governing over peer’s money and students are holding other students accountable,” Coats said.

Members of the SBC don’t have complete control over the general fee of students’ tuition, though, Coats said. The committee must submit all decisions made with the funds to a faculty budget committee, where it goes through an extensive hierarchy all the way up to the Board of Trustees.

The SBC consists of both graduate and undergraduate students interested in managing the money portioned out to the University’s many organizations.

Students interested in joining the SBC must submit an application and go through an interview process before being admitted into the committee. According to Clint Stephens, interim coordinator of student organizations and advisor for the SBC, students wishing to join the SBC should “be engaged on campus and understand student organizations.”

Stephens also says that most members of the SBC join because of their involvement in other student organizations and want to have a say in how the money is distributed.

Suzy Budke, current member of SBC, became interested in SBC when the USG treasurer asked her to apply. As an accounting major, as well as a member of Beta Alpha Psi and the Student Honors Association, Budke decided joining the SBC could be advantageous for her.

This year’s SBC consists of two graduate students and nine undergraduates. The Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate treasurers hold the co-chair positions. The committee meets twice a month, every other Wednesday.

There are two types of meetings. One for spot funding requests and one for annual funding for organizations. At these meetings, a representative from the organizations requesting money must make a presentation. After the presentation the representative leaves the room in order for the SBC to discuss the presentation and review the guidelines in order to construct the organizations budget.

Other duties of the SBC members including “making sure the money is spent the way it was allocated,” Budke said.