Money is often the question when dealing with college, but what happens when money is given back to student organizations?
Salisbury University Students pay a $65 activities fee as part of their tuition. With approximately 6,200 fall semester students the fee generates just over $403,000, according to Tricia Smith, director of the center for student involvement and leadership (CSIL).
This fee supports various organizations, like the Student Government Association (SGA), Safe Ride, the school newspaper and campus clubs, according to the SU website.
A new Registered Student Organization (RSO) funding policy is changing the way clubs receive funding. Clubs are now assigned a category, each having their own restrictions.
This policy was the brainchild of Timothy Johnson, former director for the Guerrieri student union and student involvement and Tricia Smith, as well as others, Smith said.
Smith explained the purpose of CSIL is to provide students a chance to become involved and join organizations, as well as find leadership opportunities and growth.
Smith noted that providing for these opportunities involves creating a policy that more effectively spreads available resources across clubs. With more than 100 organizations and counting, some limitations may be necessary.
“We’re starting to get worried the money is going to run out,” Smith explained. “Truthfully, we want to spend all of the money, but we want it to last for the entire year.”
A new Finance and Appropriations board was created alongside the new policy, with plans to integrate the board into the SGA. If successful, the director of the board would be elected, giving the student body more authority, Smith described.
Haider Ahmad, the director of the finance and appropriations board, describes the board's purpose as two fold. The board approves a club's use of its own funds, and provides additional funding when needed.
Ahmad stated that within the board and policy’s first semester, some revisions may be needed. Some RSOs may like the policy while others may not, yet no policy is without flaws.
“A policy will always have flaws,” Ahmad said. “I think it is very good right now and if we have problems down the road, we definitely can fix it.”
Ramsey Richey is the president of Student United Way, a club focused around fundraising and student involvement in the local community.
SUW is a supplies based club, according to a document released by SU, and this may lead to problems for the organization, Richey described.
SUW holds a 5k run each year, and the club usually requests around $500 from SU.
As a supplies based RSOs, SUW is now limited to $250 in funding exclusively for items necessary for their operation each semester. They are not allowed funding for events.
Richey stated that he wants to see an open dialogue where the SGA can advocate on behalf of the students. The monthly SGA meetings have been an opportunity for clubs to talk, where everyone is heard.
“I would hope that it would be an open dialogue between the school, SGA and the clubs,” Richey said.
By NATHANAEL MILLER
Featured graphic courtesy of Nathanael Miller