For some groups, more benefits to staying unofficial

U regulations can dissuade groups from registering with the Student Activities Office.

Cody Nelson

An unofficial student group at the University of Minnesota wants to profit off the films it produces, but registering with the school would hinder it from doing so.

While becoming an official student group comes with benefits like a free meeting space, some are better served by not officially registering.

The Film Alliance, a group of undergraduate students interested in making and critiquing film, is one of those groups.

The student group, which was created this fall, has found a variety of reasons to not register with the University, including conflicts with fundraising and membership regulations and the application process.

“Money is really the issue,” said Giselle Yuer Wei, an apparel design freshman involved with the group.

The Film Alliance is currently developing its first short film, group leader Thomas Ducastel said. He said members hope to eventually submit their work to competitions and film festivals, which could be profitable.

But registered student groups must be nonprofit organizations, Student Unions and Activities Assistant Director Erik Dussault said.

Groups may pay individuals salaries and pay for services, he said, but any profit the group earns would count as fundraising if the group registered with SUA.

University policy places restrictions on fundraising for official student groups.

According to SUA’s website, groups may fundraise up to five days per semester and must have its fundraisers reviewed and approved by SUA. Applications to raise funds must also be submitted at least 10 business days before the event.

‘A burden off your shoulders’

The registration process itself has also dissuaded the group from officially registering.

“It’s a rather complicated process,” Ducastel said.

He said the registration process was lengthy for his other group — the Gold Standard-Show Choir.

Geoffrey Tomaino, the sophomore president of Gold Standard, registered the choir.

He said there was a multi-step registration process that included developing a constitution that fits “very strict guidelines” set forth by the University.

For some student groups, Tomaino said, it may be “a burden off your shoulders” to stay unregistered.

Ducastel said that a meeting space would be the main benefit of registering with the University, but the group already meets in a public courtyard in Rapson Hall.

“Unless you want to use rooms to rehearse or for your meetings, you actually would be better off just not being registered,” Tomaino said.

But registering can offer promotional benefits for groups.

For example, only registered groups are allowed to chalk on University property to promote themselves, Dussault said.

He also said some buildings on campus, including Coffman Union, only allow official groups to post fliers.

The Film Alliance is currently made up of students of various majors who have interests in film or acting, but the group wants to keep itself open to anyone interested in film, Wei said.

“[The group] shouldn’t be limited to just U students,” she said.

University policy dictates that current students must make up at least two-thirds of a registered group’s total voting membership.

Ducastel said he wants these regulations to be simpler.

“We just want people with good ideas and the motivation to work on film.”