Dwight Hall budget spread thin

Dwight Hall
Photo by Samantha Gardner.

This spring, many Dwight Hall programs are struggling with decreased funding, as the Undergraduate Organizations Committee copes with an influx of student groups.

According to Dwight Hall members, UOC has not decreased its budget, but the usual sum is spread thinner than in year’s past as more student groups have requested funding. This leaves Dwight Hall, whose number of organizations have not significantly changed, with less money. Students and Dwight Hall representatives interviewed said this unexpected budget shortage may force member groups to reduce their services.

“More groups are complaining of not getting funded and they’re asking us to pick up the slack,” said Teresa Logue ’15, Dwight Hall co-coordinator. “We just don’t have that much money.”

In the spring of 2011, Dwight Hall had only $12,600 available, while requests amounted to approximately $22,000, meaning Dwight Hall could meet 63 percent of the total request, Dwight Hall financial coordinator Jonathan Yu ’16 said in an email. He added that this spring, Dwight Hall had $14,800 available to meet a total of over $40,400 in requests.

Due to UOC’s decreased funding, Dwight Hall has seen a statistically significant increase of $5,000 from last year’s requests from its member groups. Dwight Hall was also working with approximately $7,000 less than they had in the spring of 2013. Yu said the spring budget was lower due to increased spending in the fall.

As a result, this spring Dwight Hall can only meet about 37 percent of its total requests, Yu said.

“What I saw last semester especially was that we had to go over budget by 25 percent and I think it’s due to UOC,” said Mike Wolner ’14, former Dwight Hall financial coordinator.

To distribute more money to all its member groups, Dwight Hall has reduced funding for requests covering public relations costs like food, Logue said.

Logue said that if Dwight Hall groups are receiving less money from UOC, they should investigate applying for more grants.

With a budget of approximately $200,000 each year, the average UOC grant amounts to little over $300, said Ben Ackerman ’16, student organizations director, adding that the average grant to service organizations is few dollars above average.

“Student organizations have limited resources and we need to make sure that the money is going to the most beneficial place possible,” Ackerman said. “We’re investigating how to improve the current processes, but we haven’t come to any conclusions on how to best do that.” In an effort to restructure the current system, UOC had proposed a tiered system in which groups would be organized into different funding groups based on their campus impact, Ackerman said.

While the proposal never passed, Dwight Hall members believe that it indicates an ongoing change in UOC funding policy that favors student groups over service groups that benefit the city of New Haven, said Sterling Johnson ’15, Dwight Hall co-coordinator.

“We applied for UOC funding and they gave us one-sixth of what we asked for because it wasn’t for Yale students,” said Ragini Luthra ’16, treasurer of Best Buddies. “If it’s not Yale money for Yale students, you have to go elsewhere.”

Dwight Hall currently has 68 member groups.

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