Higher number of student groups apply for funding

Office of Student Affairs is allocating $1.44 million for 105 student groups during the upcoming spring semester.

by Jordan Willauer

The highest number of student groups in recent years are seeking Student Services Fees funding for next semester.

The Office for Student Affairs is currently deliberating how to allocate student group fees for the spring of 2019. During this deliberation cycle, 105 student groups requested over $1 million in student services fees for programs and events. This is 23 groups more than the number that requested funds for the spring of 2018.

“Normally we’ll see a fluctuation of five or six [new] groups … but this was definitely a surprise,” said Jude Goossens, a junior and Student Services Fee Committee Chair.

Despite the increased number of groups applying and a higher request for funds, Sara Carvell, associate director for OSA, said it doesn’t necessarily mean that each student group will receive less funding than in previous years. 

For the 2018–2019 academic year, OSA is allocating approximately $1.44 million to the 105 student groups. Students at the University pay a Student Service Fee every semester, which helps fund these student groups on campus. 

Student groups submit funding requests to the Student Services Fee Committee, which then listens to presentations and allocates money based on the requests and justifications. “The process is very nuanced,” Carvell said. 

“There’s 105 different groups and 105 sets of variables,” Carvell said of the deliberation process. “Things like: Did they meet the minimum requirements? Did they justify their requests? Have they managed funds before? How much are they contributing to their own requests?”

Students are automatically required to pay $18.91 for student activities on campus, an amount included in the student service fee that students pay per semester with their tuition.

As to why more groups are applying for funds for the first time, Goossens said there are many possibilities to consider. This includes a revision to the SSF process where groups now request funding one semester in advance for programming, as opposed to a year ago where groups originally requested funding for the entire year.

“It’s been a full year since the revisions to the process … so more groups are feeling comfortable enough to enter the application process and to pursue funding from this particular source,” Goossens said. “As different groups change and evolve … that could also change their own personal considerations. It’s a lot of different possibilities. Those are the ones we’ve been thinking about.”

Ayan Mohamed, treasurer for the Association for Computing Machinery for Women, said this was the student group’s first time applying for SSF funding. With an increase in group interest and a new student office, Mohamed said her group needed the funds.

“We usually get funded through the computer science department and that was usually enough for us … but we noticed we had an increase in members and we needed to be able to support that,” Mohamed said. 

Trygve Eggen, the director of finance for GOFIRST Robotics, a student group that has been requesting SSF funds since the 2011–2012 academic year, said in an email that he welcomed the increased requests for group funding. 

“I am a strong proponent of student groups as a means for students to form communities within the University. … More student groups applying for SSF funding indicates that there are more active student groups that have programs that meet the requirements to be funded by SSF. This translates to more opportunities for students, so I think that this is a positive thing for the entire campus and student body,” Eggen said.

Carvell echoed Eggen’s positive outlook, saying the increased number of groups applying shows that the SSF program is accessible. “New groups can come in and be successful,” she said.