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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
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USG Slow to Fund Clubs

This fall semester, many student clubs and organizations have had trouble accessing funding for their events or other activities because their budget requests have not yet received any response. Thus, many clubs find themselves still waiting for the money they need for their planned activities. 

Since the beginning of the semester, many clubs and other student organizations at the University of Massachusetts Boston have been planning events and other related activities. In the process of doing this, the clubs also have to plan a budget and calculate expenses for their actions. In some cases, the organizations gather the necessary finances through fundraising or donations. However, in most cases, recognized clubs file a budget request with the Undergraduate Student Senate. It is then the Student Events and Organizations Committee (SEOC) and the Budget and Finance Committee (B&F) that manage all budget requests, and decide over whether they will be approved or denied. Club events on campus or within the Greater Boston area are funded by the SEOC. In contrast, events taking place outside the Greater Boston area are funded by the B&F.

However, since the beginning of the semester, many clubs have not received any responses to their funding requests and are still kept waiting even though they filed the requests early on before the first deadline of this semester. According to the Undergraduate Student Government website, clubs are asked to file the request at least six weeks prior to an event in order to be guaranteed timely consideration. The first budget review date this fall semester was scheduled to be on September 11.

Now, seven weeks after this deadline, clubs are still waiting for their budget requests to be approved (or denied). At the time this article was written, the USG website still listed 41 budget requests filed before or on September 11 as “pending,” while 39 are listed as “approved,” and two as “denied.” Therefore, clubs such as the Queer Student Center, Desi Student Association, Student Nurses Association, and the Slam Society are still awaiting their funding. Multiple clubs and organizations have also filed multiple, separate requests and are therefore missing funding for several of their activities. Usually, the review process is not supposed to take any longer than two weeks after the submissions deadline and should be decided in one of the bi-monthly meetings. This means that for September 11, the review process should have been over by September 25.

When recently asked by the Mass Media about why some clubs have not yet received any funding, SEOC chair Mark Torres explained that “all requests are reviewed on a case to case basis and given the same consideration as others. This ultimately means that the funding process might be a bit lengthy at times.” According to Torres, the SEOC funds come from the students (in the form of semester fees), and thus, the SEOC “must make sure that the money is spent wisely.” Therefore, the process is very thorough and the requests must be “up to standard,” as Torres explains it. He also added that the amount of requests, such as in this semester, can sometimes be quite large and thus prolong the funding process. Some requests, too, do not contain all the necessary information and clubs have to be contacted again after they have already filed the request. Furthermore, Torres explains that the online system of submitting requests is being used for the first time this year and has also caused some technical difficulties. Chair Torres also adds that “Due to conflicting schedules, work commitments, and academic life of the committee members, supplementary meetings are difficult to schedule.”