Throughout the year Marquette’s student government (MUSG) sits down to discuss Student Organization Allocation (SOA) for recognized and registered student organizations on campus. With over 250 organizations,, each one is unique in terms of how much funding it needs in order to have a successful event or year.
“The allocations are not arbitrary at all. The SOA committee evaluates each application objectively looking for the benefits that the program or trip will provide to our campus,” said MUSG Communications Vice President and senior in the College of Communication Lauren Lakomek.
The MUSG SOA Committee makes the final decision on allocations. The committee is comprised of the Financial Vice President, Executive Vice President, Program Board Assistant, two Residential Senators, and two Academic Senators. This year’s advisor for the committee is Kate Trevey, Coordinator for Student Organizations & Leadership for the Office of Student Development. A week before every deadline, MUSG holds informational workshops for student organizations to educate them on the process.
“Its hard because you want to do a good job so your team may receive the most funding possible and yet unless the executive board before you leaves a sample of what they did its hard to know exactly how to write these out. MUSG holds a workshop on it and it is very helpful when you stop in their office but I think it would be very helpful if they posted some past requests they thought were well done,” said Marquette Crew President and senior in the College of Arts and Sciences Julie Knyszek.
In addition to workshops, this particular year the SOA Committee created a powerpoint presentation to give visual step by step instructions and information about the SOA process. This can be found on the MUSG Web site.
“The SOA budgetary process is divided into two lines; one for club sports and one for non-club sports. Club sports have two deadlines throughout the year; one for the spring season and one for the fall season. Non-club sports have eight period deadlines that they can apply for throughout the year,” said MUSG Financial Vice President and senior in the College of Business Administration Jonathan Giel . “During the fiscal year 2010, MUSG has successfully allocated to 58 student organizations totaling $60,383.14.”
Depending on whether or not the organization is in the non club sport or club sport categories, there are several deadlines throughout the year for each to respectively apply for funding. This year there are eight periods for non club sports and two periods for club sports. Each period is based on when the organization plans on having their event or activity. Though organizations are encouraged to apply for funding as early as possible, funding is generally given for specific events that the clubs plan on having. MUSG SOA funds speakers or educational events, documentaries and performances, advertising and publicity for events, and any event or services that are open to all of Marquette and enhance the community. For organizations that have more expenses this means working twice as hard on their SOA applications.
“I’m one of the co-presidents of the rowing team and because we are one of the most expensive club sports on campus, making sure we submit thorough and detailed funding requests is very important,” said Knyszek. “During the SOA funding workshops MUSG stresses that due to the large amount of clubs and requests they get the more detailed your request is, the better. Writing this out takes quite a bit of personal time because, at least for me, I know that the work I put in this could mean a big difference in dues for every member of our team. I would say so far the other co-president and I have spent about 6 hours on this and we are still not completely done yet.”
In terms of how decisions made, detail is considered a key factor in the allocation process. According to the MUSG SOA Committee, the more detail organizations put into their request the more prospective funding that can be received. The MUSG SOA said that although applications that do not provide complete event or season details are generally not given funding. A clear defined plan for each season with a through breakdown from tentative costs, to number of participants, to specific lodging and transportation details has a better chance of receiving more funding.
“Our goal as members of MUSG and the SOA Committee is to be financial stewards of the Student Activity Fee (SAF),” MUSG Executive Vice President and College of Business Administration senior Stephanie Stopka said. “We fully understand that it is our job to look at all of the applications with an impartial eye. When discussing the applications we do not bring in any outside knowledge. We only take into consideration the information that is provided on the application,” Stopka said. “The committee is looking to sponsor and support events that enhance the overall Marquette experience, aligned with the Jesuit ideals.”
However, not every organization will receive the funding they want or need. As the SOA Committee members are inclined to make decisions based on applications, they sometimes cannot give organizations all the funding they request. For these situations, there is an allocation appeals form that organizations can submit. Reasons for appeal include: the SOA Committee incorrectly deeming the application insufficient, the SOA Committee decision seeming arbitrary and inconsistent with similar funding decisions and practices, or MUSG not following its stated application procedures and policies.
Though the SOA typically covers organizations’ expenses towards their events, there are specific things the MUSG SOA cannot fund. These things include recruiting or fundraising events, capital goods (t-shirts or prizes), operating expenses (office supplies), non-current expenses (expenses that came outside of the current funding period), and any event that charges admission fees.
“In the past MUSG has been pretty helpful in allocating us money, I believe we are usually one of the clubs that receives the larger amounts of funding and every bit helps but it’s still hard because MUSG must split the fund between 250+ clubs on campus,” Knyszek said. “Because of the amount of clubs and the high expenses our club incurs any mention of reduction in club sports allocations is especially nerve-wrecking. Ultimately for the rowing team the amount of time we put in to the process is usually more than given back to us in allocation money it just comes at the end of the semester.”