Changes in funding for club and organization travels proposed
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
The Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) is looking to change funding guidelines and regulations for clubs and organizations that want to travel.
One of the changes being proposed is providing funding for trips to national conferences every other year, instead of every year.
“We found that a lot of the students were taking the same conferences every year and we didn’t know how beneficial that was going to be,” said Jessica Twain, senior and chair of SAFAC. “If a freshman is going on this conference and the next year they’re taking the same conference, are they really learning new things?”
According to the university’s student handbook, SAFAC is responsible for allocating Student Activity funds to programming initiatives proposed by clubs, organizations, departments and offices on campus.
There is currently $180,000 in SAFAC, $95,000 for the fall semester and $85,000 for the spring semester, according to director of student life, Denise Bentley-Drobish.
Twain said she wouldn’t say SAFAC is looking to be more strict about allocating money, just “more feasible.”
It’s a sensitive conversation and they understand that there is merit to going to conference and coming back and sharing that information,” said Bentley-Drobish.
For clubs and organizations that are funded, in good standing and are recognized, the operating budget is $400 for the fall and $200 for the spring, beyond that students must put in a proposal with SAFAC to fund events, according to Bentley-Drobish.
The Student Government Association (SGA) Board of Finance is responsible for allocating annual budgets to clubs and organizations that meet the criteria for funding.
An example of a non-funded organization would be a sorority, or a group that selects its membership.
Another change that is being proposed is getting rid of per diem costs for the advisor that accompanies the students. Per diem meaning, the portion of money that’s give to the advisor each day that will pay for anything that he or she needs.
“Based on our guidelines we have to fund the advisor fully, and if you look at the proposals sometimes that’s the most amount of money,” said Twain.
According to current SAFAC guidelines, SAFAC does not fund registration fees for students but funds early bird registration fees for advisors.
“They do fund the advisor’s registration and the reason is, is because they can’t go without the advisor,” said Bentley-Drobish. “But often times the advisor cost for registration is more than the student’s because it’s just the way organizations work.”
For travel costs SAFAC funds up to $300 per student, for up to four students. For example, if four students from an organization are traveling to a conference, SAFAC will only provide up to $1200 for travel costs.
“If you’re flight is over $300 you have to contribute fundraising. Not that you can’t go, but this is all we can afford to give you,” said Bentley-Drobish.
SAFAC is also looking to change hotel costs. Currently, SAFAC is required to fund two rooms for up to four nights, $150 per night, and are looking to change that to $100 a night instead.
“We’re really going to encourage you to look at all the hotels, find one that’s safe and clean but do not choose the $215 room,” said Bentley-Drobish. “Again that means the club or the group has to make personal contributions or do fundraising to make up the difference.”
SAFAC contract revisions will be voted on and finalized in January.
Photo Credit: Staff Photo