Last Wednesday, the Undergraduate Student Government doled out $6,000 out of emergency funding to three different clubs. The Honors in STEM, UConn Society of Women Engineers and UConn Boxing all saw deficits in funding well before the mid-way point of the semester. Some USG members are pushing toward leniency when granting emergency fund requests so as to prevent club members from being burdened with unforeseen expenditures,
Honors in STEM’s new arrival this semester prevented them from producing the paperwork to allocate funds for this semester. While the current circumstances make emergency funding the go-to source of funding, USG should have a process in cooperation with the university in which new clubs must apply for funding separately from the pre-existing clubs. The emergency funds are there to prevent clubs from being blind-sided by unpredictable events. Providing full funding for new clubs created past the deadline for the new semester’s budget should be treated as a separate issue.
UConn Society of Women Engineers and UConn Boxing are both well-established. However, both clubs were unable to receive their funding for vastly different reasons. UConn Boxing became competitive this semester but forgot to turn in all the paperwork necessary to fund their competitions. UConn Society of Women Engineers were unable to turn in the paperwork due to an officer’s absence due to medical leave.
The UConn Society of Women Engineers fulfills what should be the requirements for applying for emergency funding as there were unforeseen circumstances. UConn Boxing simply made a clerical error. These circumstances are not comparable when it comes to justifying emergency funding.
Last semester, USG spent $20,000 by week seven of the semester, with a total of $40,000 available per semester. Typically, in previous years, a total of $24,000 is spent per semester. To prevent the blunders of some clubs, particularly those involving clerical errors and circumstances that could have been avoided, there needs to be revision to the criteria for applying for emergency funding and possibly internal changes in the training procedures for organization treasurers and CFOs.
Ideally, situations where officers have simply forgotten to adhere to the deadline to turn their budget in would not exist, but in the event that there is, there should be some sort of penalty in place. This would provide an incentive for these instances to be greatly reduced, while hopefully reducing the number of requests for emergency funding so early in the semester.
The end goal should be ensuring that as many organizations a possible have the funds they need. Changing procedures so that emergency fund requests occur for true emergences and not clerical or avoidable mistakes allows this goal to be achieved and allows USG to allocate more of their time to other issues.