RUSA assesses new student organizations funding based on educational value
Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) Allocations Board members broke down student organization funding and registration.
Patrick Grifone, a Rutgers Business School junior, explained how new student organizations are registered through the Rutgers Office of Student Involvement.
“For the first time, 10 students have to write up a constitution or set of guidelines for a club they want to create. Then it goes through student affairs to get approved,” he said.
The early deadline for new organizations is May 1. Organizations that apply during this time frame and are approved can participate in the Fall 2018 Involvement Fair, according to the student involvement website.
Student organizations that do not meet the early deadline can still apply from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1. To register a new student organization, students can visit the student involvement website for guidelines.
Organizations can also find guidelines for re-registration on the student involvement website. Re-registration opens on March 1 and closes on May 1 every year. Grifone gave a brief overview of the general process of re-registration.
“They simply renew their information in the spring semester so they’re registered in the fall and, as long as they have 10 students the club stays as long as it keeps getting renewed. They also submit a budget request in the spring semester for next fall,” he said.
This is where Dana Cai, a Rutgers Business School senior, and Nick Pellitta, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, come in. As members of the Allocations Board, they review these budget requests to decide on funding for student organizations.
Organizations must apply to the Allocations Board for funding in the semester prior to when they need funding, Pellitta said. The hard deadline for fall budget requests was March 29.
Pellitta said that approximately 330 organizations submitted budgets for the coming fall. Cai and Pellitta reviewed those budgets and decided funding based on the specific needs of each organization.
“It is based on the size and scope of their events, so it has nothing to do with the content of the events or what the organization is. It’s just about how large it is and what their actual budgetary needs are,” Pellitta said.
The Allocations Board calculates based on how fundable and ambitious the items and events are. It adds all of that up and then applies a percentage cut to every organization across the board so that it fits into the overall budget, he said.
The only time an organization is completely denied funding is when that organization requests funding for something that is not deemed fundable, according to the guidelines of the Allocations Board, Cai said.
“For example, we can’t fund any socials, because to be funded as an event, it must have educational purposes or be related to the club’s mission. If it’s something that just seems like a party, we don’t fund that right away," Cai said.
Although, organizations can always make an appeal and give a casual presentation to the Allocations Board explaining why they disagree, she said.
Pellitta and Cai said that they believe that this process applies to all students at Rutgers, regardless of organization membership, because the events that the board funds are for the student body’s benefit.
“Even if you’re not a member of an organization we fund, all the events are usually open to the public. Like Islam Awareness Week is going on right now, and even though I’m not a member of the Muslim Student Association, I walked by and I learned more about what they were doing,” Cai said.
Student organizations and the events they put on are an integral part of the Rutgers experience for many students, Pellitta said. Because of this, the board is always considering which funding methods will most enable student organizations to benefit the student body.
“Our goal is to empower every single club to be able to put on those events and make an impact in the Rutgers community.That’s the point of these organizations, in my eyes, at the end of the day," Pellitta said.