More student groups seek funding from fees

Nearly 70 student groups submitted applications for student services fees funding.

Jenna Wilcox

The Student Services Fees Committee kicked off the semester-long process of reviewing applications and doling out funding to University of Minnesota student groups and administrative units last week.

Fees committee adviser Megan Sweet said the biggest difference between this year and years past is increased interest. The committee received applications from 69 student groups âÄî up 10 from last year.

The SSFC is divided into two groups. One committee will oversee applications from student groups, while the other will handle applications from larger fees-receiving units, like Boynton Health Service and the Minnesota Daily.

Applications for student groups were due Jan. 20 and for administrative units on Jan. 23. All administrative units turned in applications by the 4:30 p.m. deadline, but seven student groups had problems with their applications.

Five of those groups âÄîrequesting funding this year for the first time âÄî will have to go through the appeals process.

The Art of Living Club and Forensic Science Club turned in their applications late. The Humphrey Students of Color Association and Voices Merging did not attend a mandatory informational meeting. The Graduate Christian Fellowship and the Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars missed the meeting and turned in late applications.

Since the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Student Chapter hasnâÄôt been a registered student group for at least a year, they do not meet the requirements to receive student service fees money.

The student organizations fees committee met Thursday to discuss what they would do with the seven unaccepted applications and began the deliberation process.

The committee decided to accept applications from the Humphrey Students of Color and Voices Merging groups, because their only fault was missing the informational meeting.

The meetings are usually one of the requirements for groups applying for fees. Groups have the option to attend one of five meetings, but this year, due to increased interest, the committee expanded it to seven meetings.

When the committee reviewed applications, it referred to the student fees handbook and saw the information meeting requirement âÄúmayâÄù be filled by attending a session. They decided the wording was not strong enough to make it a requirement, said Kyle Kroll, chairman of the student groups fees committee.

The remaining five groups will have to go through an appeals process if they want to see the money they requested.

âÄúTo not receive funding it would be difficult for [groups] to fund operations for the coming year,âÄù Kroll said.

The Appeals Committee will be comprised of five voting members and one non-voting ex-officio member. They will review the appeals submitted by the groups and invite the groups with sufficient justification to formally appeal.

Bigger groups, bigger budgets

Art of Living Club President Eshitha Mogallapalli said she turned in the application late because she had technical difficulties with email.

âÄúI didnâÄôt think it mattered that much because it was only five or 10 minutes late,âÄù she said. âÄúI was upset because weâÄôve been working on the application for a while and then, at the last minute, [it] didnâÄôt get accepted.âÄù

The Art of Living Club requested $17,825 this year âÄî an âÄúambitious requestâÄù considering its budget last year was around $2,300, Kroll said.

âÄúIn society today, when we look how organizations are run, a lot of them seem to be growing and growth means larger budgets,âÄù Kroll said.

Mogallapalli said without the funding the group requested, it wonâÄôt be able to increase the number of public events and raise awareness about the group like she had hoped.

The group works to relieve stress with yoga, meditation and breathing techniques, to teach leadership skills and to do service work.

Bigger student group budgets mean higher fees for all students. But rather than argue for why students should pay them, Kroll said the committee would love to hear studentsâÄô opinions about the groups.

âÄúWe like to remain viewpoint-neutral,âÄù he said, âÄúbut knowing what students think of the groups is very beneficial and valuable to the committee.âÄù