Student Organizations Lose Funding with Increased Participation

Courtesy of Natalie BattagliaThe allocations committee of student government said it had to decline requests because more groups asked for funds.

Disclaimer: Phoenix Assistant News Editor Mary Chappell is a member of the Silhouettes. She didn’t edit this article ahead of publication.

Funding requests for Loyola student organizations went through the roof this semester, leaving students scrambling to keep traditions alive.

Each of the 235 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are able to request funding through the Student Activity Fund, money set aside for RSO use only.

The Student Government of Loyola Chicago, specifically the Allocations Committee — consisting of undergraduate students — reviews the requests, attends hearings and decides which RSOs receive funds and how much they receive.

For each requesting time period, the average is approximately $53,000 worth of requests from around 40 RSOs, but the last requesting cycle, there was around $158,840 worth of requests from 63 groups, according to David Lopez, the chairman of the Student Government’s Allocations Committee.

In the last cycle, 13 were approved, 23 were denied and 27 were partially funded, Kaylee Hartman, the Student Activities and Greek Affairs (SAGA) coordinator for RSO, said in a statement to The Phoenix.

Compared to last semester’s 16 new RSOs, nine were added this semester, Hartman said.

The reason more organizations were denied was because there was a greater number of funding requests, Lopez said.

“Every cycle is unique,” the 21-year-old environmental science major said. “Maybe you had this same event every single year, but this year, for some reason, we had so many requests that we had to make some cuts.”

The money from the Student Activity Fund comes from the Student Development fee, which is charged to undergraduate and graduate students for a variety of programs and services such as the Wellness Center, Halas membership, shuttle bus and 8-ride programs, according to the SAGA website.

The Student Activity Fund budget is $490,000 each academic year and has remained the same since fall 2016, according to Lopez.

It’s unclear whether the Student Activity Fund will increase its budget in the future, according to Lopez.

Lopez said it would be “false” to say the Student Government doesn’t want to increase the budget because university senate hasn’t discussed the issue yet.

Each semester has three funds to be distributed to RSOs at three different times. Two cycles are for events happening within the current semester and one is designated for next semester’s events, according to the “Student Organization Handbook.”

To receive funding, an organization must submit a request to the Allocation Committee through OrgSync — Loyola’s website to connect students with RSOs — stating how much money it wants, when it needs funds and the purpose of the money, according to Lopez.

A week later, the treasurer of an organization has the option to attend a hearing where each group can explain the importance of its request to the committee, Lopez said.

After the hearings, the committee discusses and then votes based on the policies and guidelines stated in the “Student Organization Handbook,” according to Lopez.

The Silhouettes — an a capella group on campus — is one of the student organizations who said its funds were impacted this last requesting cycle. Shannon Laird, the treasurer of the Silhouettes, said while the funds for one of its two concerts this semester were approved, funding for the other was denied.

AcaFriendzy is a concert performed by all six a capella groups at Loyola, having happened every spring semester for at least the past eight years, according to Laird.

Laird said she attended the Allocations Committee hearing to request around $4,115 for the group’s own concert and around $3,400 for the combined concert. Laird said the committee asked her which concert is the priority, and she said the Silhouettes concert.

“We already had the date, we had already contacted all the sound equipment guys, and they had us on their schedule,” the 20-year-old nursing major said. “Because the way the process is set up, you already have to have all of your ducks in line … everything sorted out and planned out already before you request funding, so it kind of sucks when it’s not for sure.”

For each AcaFriendzy concert, a different a capella group takes the lead of requesting funding, and for the spring 2018 concert, Michael Sayers, the treasurer for Acafellas, said he requested funding for the combined AcaFriendzy concert which was about $1,600, and it was approved.

Andrea Busch, treasurer of student literature and arts magazine Diminuendo and Cadence, said the organization was denied funding in the last requesting cycle for catering at its release party.

Diminuendo and Cadence requested around $5,393 to publish the magazine, and around $2,698 for catering at the event, but the Allocations Committee denied the catering request, according to Busch.  

Busch said she went to the hearing, and the committee asked her which was more important, the publishing or the catering, and she said the publishing. Even though the event is still happening, there will be less people attending without food, according to Busch.

“I’m not saying the panel I was talking to was to blame for this because they did secure the funding for the printing of the magazine, which was the priority,” the 20-year-old English major said. “But it does mean, we’re going to have less people come to the event, which really hinders our distribution.”

Busch said she requested funding for the release party in spring 2018, which was about $5,079, and it was approved.

Laura Orrico, co-president of the Student Environmental Alliance, said the organization was denied funding it requested in the last cycle for “Water Week” — a series of events that have taken place the same week every year since 2014.

The Student Environmental Alliance said it requested around $609 for handouts, art supplies and catering, but since the Allocations Committee approved of around $264, the events won’t be able to have food, according to Orrico.

“I think it’ll definitely affect the turnout because college students love free food,” the 20-year-old environmental science major said. “I feel it’s a good way to get people in, and even if they think they’re not interested, they will hopefully learn something.”

Last year, Orrico said she requested funding for “Water Week,” which was about $1,345, and $1,339 was approved.

Lopez said he and his fellow committee members had to make some tough decisions.  

“I do feel for the student orgs that have these events set, and they wanted to execute these events,” Lopez said. “Even the most documented thorough requests can be denied because we simply don’t have money for it.”

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