The Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) announced that the organization has run out of funds for the rest of the academic year. This means that it can no longer supply or supplement the budgets of over 240 registered student organizations, a move that has created a lot of worry among student leaders.
Each year, SAFAC divides 40 percent of each undergraduate’s student activity fee, a $264 cost, among registered student organizations in order to ensure they can run programs, events and remain successful.
With the growing number of registered student organizations nearing 300, the precedent percentage allocated, which was set about five years ago, is not sufficient to fully fund organizations year round.
SAFAC ran out of funds last academic year as well, so the announcement should not come as a surprise, according to Laura Stott, director of student activities, student organizations and University Center programs.
Organization leaders were notified midway through the fall semester and were encouraged to return their budget requests promptly in order to get enough money for proposed future events.
“Several new steps have been created this year to help alleviate funding issues like this from happening again. SAFAC worked hard to ensure all organizations would have a fair shot next year at funding for the entire year,” Stott said. “New guidelines, a new form, new five-year averages and an additional allocation in activity fees to SAFAC will all contribute to greater funds to allocate next year.”
Only several organizations that did not submit a request for a regular budget, as well as new organizations approved for the spring semester, do not have funding.
SAFAC, consequently, has encouraged student leaders to seek alternative sources of funding instead of solely relying on the committee.
Organizations like COLSA, the Colombian Students Association, have creatively programmed events and funded other necessary activities with resources outside of their SAFAC budget.
“Most of our funding does come from SAFAC but we also try and co-sponsor with other organizations and other offices on campus like the Department of Orientation or the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs or from the different schools on campus,” said Francisco Urrea, vice president of COLSA. “We try to organize fundraisers…and we send letters to chambers of commerce.”
Although the amount given to SAFAC will remain the same, the committee is taking measures to ensure the situation does not repeat itself.
Last semester, the committee finalized a decision to no longer fund organization banquets next year, a shift that is supposed to save large amounts of money and expand the dollar.
“There is a limit to everything. I think organizations, especially those who really rely on SAFAC, are realizing that we are only a secondary source of funding and when we’re treated like a primary source it’s going to run out, and then everybody loses,” said Melanie Suaris, chair of SAFAC. “Out of every bad there has to be something good. Now, every organization will have to try to pull out sponsorships and fundraise more.”
SAFAC is organizing workshops to be held later in the semester in order to advise organizations on how to raise money through sponsorships.
Also, committee members are working to answer the questions of student leaders and prepare organizations for submitting their regular budgets for the following academic year.
Jonathan Borge may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.