More than halfway through the semester, the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee has awarded student groups over $23,200 — a 169 percent increase from the total funding distributed last fall.
The UOFC has renewed its commitment this semester to teaching student organizations how to fill out applications properly in order to obtain necessary funding, UOFC chairman Elliott Mogul ’05 said. The focus on teaching — with UOFC members acting as liaisons to the treasurers of applicant groups — has translated into fewer rejections and more money allotted to student groups than ever before, Mogul said. The UOFC’s budget currently stands at over $65,000.
UOFC member Lauren Thompson ’05 said the UOFC’s efforts have led to more student organizations receiving the money they need.
“I think that the members of the UOFC have a really positive outlook,” Thompson said. “We’re not looking to shoot down applications.”
Though UOFC members have acted as liaisons to organizations in the past, this year Mogul said he is asking the members to communicate with the applicants before the UOFC decides funding awards.
“Last year, liaisons basically had the purpose of sending out funding decisions to their organizations after meetings, but did not do as much pre-meeting fact checking,” Mogul said.
Applications for funding are due on alternate Tuesdays and the UOFC makes its decisions the following Mondays. The period between the deadline and the committee meetings gives the liaisons time to review the applications and contact the organizations about potential problems with the applications.
“If I see something that’s unclear or could hurt the application, I’ll e-mail the treasurer [of the applicable group],” Thompson said.
Thompson said there have not been any outrageous requests this year. In fact, Thompson said, a few organizations could have asked for more money. The standard maximum amount of funding allotted to a group per semester is $600. Mogul said that there are two exceptions, however.
One is if the organization is planning a big event that affects most of the students on campus, like the Spring Fling, Mogul said. In those cases, however, the amount awarded rarely exceeds $1000 or $2000. The second exception is the possibility to apply for advanced funding for next semester, he said. Combined with first semester funding, the maximum total funding for the year is $1200.
The current average award has risen more than 90 percent compared to last semester, nearly doubling from $201.30 to $385.80. Mogul said the committee has accepted more applications, and those that are not accepted because of a lack of information are set aside so UOFC members can check in with the applicants.
“When we’re not well-informed, we don’t outright reject it,” Mogul said. “We table it.”
On the rare occasion that applications are rejected, Thompson said the UOFC explains what the organizations did wrong and encourages them to apply again.
“In the decision letters, we say the reasons they didn’t get funding,” Thompson said.
Anyone considering applying for funding should carefully review the guidelines on the UOFC website, Thompson said. She said organizations that follow the guidelines and recognize the award limitations will fare well.
“Just stay reasonable and realistic,” Thompson said.