Centralized body for funds debuts

As of Tuesday, students hoping to throw the next Kasbah or Charity Speed Dating have a one-stop shop for on-campus party and event funding.

The Yale College Council’s Committee for Campus-wide Activities merged with the Undergraduate Organization Funding Committee this week, a move that will allow undergraduate organizations registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office to seek event funding from a new, centralized body.

YCC and UOFC officials said the new Joint Events Funding Committee of the UOFC will combine the functions of the two formerly independent pathways for securing funding for campus-wide functions — one operated by the YCC and the other by the UOFC.

Although members of some student groups interviewed said they did not find the previous system confusing, administrators and UOFC officials said they hope the shift enhances the administrative capabilities of the UOFC by streamlining and clarifying the application process for student groups.

In the past, Assistant Dean of Yale College Edgar Letriz said, students groups wishing to organize a campus-wide event often did not know whether they should seek event funding from the YCC or the UOFC, both of which provided money for campus-wide activities.

In the past, the UOFC funded a campus-wide party each year with a $5,000 grant, while the YCC, which oversaw the CCA, worked on a rolling deadline, reviewing student proposals for funding and doling out sums of up to $2,000 per event — or more if the entire Council approved the award, YCC President Rebecca Taber ’08 said. The arrangement often left student groups wondering where to turn when looking for funds, Letriz said.

Under the new JEFC, student groups looking to obtain funding for a campus-wide event will go straight to one place — the UOFC Web site — where a revised application will be posted today, Chair Joshua Tan ’09 said.

Tan said the application will be modified to reflect the UOFC’s renewed interest in transparency and accountability in student event funding. In the past, he said, some unregistered student groups did a poor job of accounting for expenses incurred over the course of planning and putting on the event.

In an attempt to curb these instances of poor accounting, Tan said, the new JEFC will only award funds to student groups registered with the Dean’s Office — perhaps the most visible change that students are likely to see as a result of the merger. He said the registration process for new groups, which consists of filling out a one-page application available from the Dean’s Office online, will be unlikely to deter potential fund-seekers.

“Registering shouldn’t really be that hard if they’re committed to the project,” Tan said.

YCC Secretary David Narotsky ’09 said the registration requirement will apply University policies on liability and accountability to student groups hosting events. University policies can hold heavy consequences for groups that do not comply with accountability policies, including loss of funding, loss of registered status or even an appearance before the University Executive Committee in cases of repeat offenders, Narotsky said.

But YCC and UOFC officials said they want to allow unofficial student groups to seek funding and offer event proposals. Tan said he hopes to develop a system of sponsorship by which a non-registered student group could join with a registered student group to push an event proposal through the funding application process.

Despite the changes, there are important parallels between the old and new funding structures, YCC and UOFC officials said. The guidelines that determine how the UOFC awards funding to student groups for campus-wide events will not change, Tan said.

“We’re still looking for innovation in events that are open to the entire campus,” he said. “We want to give people a chance to throw some innovative and fun events.”

Although the YCC and UOFC coordinated the move to address what they thought was some students’ confusion over the old funding application process, Dhruv Khullar ’09 said that when the Sophomore Class Council sought funding for a “Sophomore Safari” party last year, the SCC understood that the CCA — not the UOFC — was the correct body from which to seek money. Khullar, who was a publicist for SCC at that time, said he found the process of securing funding “pretty easy and reasonable to go through.”

Khullar is a staff reporter for the News.

Jeffrey Sun ’08 said he also managed to successfully navigate the CCA before the change. As last year’s philanthropy chair for the Sigma Chi fraternity, Sun said he worked with the CCA last March to throw a benefit party for Relay for Life at New Haven’s Center Street Lounge.

“I knew the UOFC was only for student groups,” Sun said. “CCA funding relates to specific events.”

Nevertheless, Sun said he believes having a single organization that handles event funding is a positive change.

Narotsky said he thinks there might have been more student concerns with the previous setup if groups had actually understood the complicated nature of the old event funding structure.

“I don’t think students knew enough about [the structure] to complain, which is kind of sad,” Narotsky said. “I don’t think these things were ever clarified to students.”

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