By Lilya Nguyen, For The Miami Student
Associated Student Government (ASG) has implemented a new funding process that will allow registered student organizations to apply for funding requests three times throughout the semester, rather than just once.
The goal is to give flexibility and opportunity for students to plan the semester budget more accurately.
ASG held the first training session for organizations' representatives on Wednesday in Wilks Theater. The first funding cycle opened on the same day.
At the end of the school year, if a student organization still has money left in the ASG-funded account, the treasurer can choose to submit an exempt form to pay for any last-minute expenses or ASG has access to sweep back the money from all accounts for the next semester cycle.
According to ASG Vice President of Finance, Connor O'Hearn, approximately $150,000 to $250,000 of requested funds for student organizations goes unspent each year due to cancelled events, changed plans and other unforeseen issues that cause organizations to spend less than anticipated. He hopes the new process will help students allocate money in the most effective way possible.
"I would like to see an efficient funding process so that we can maximize the opportunities for students," said O'Hearn.
In years past, anywhere from 180 to 220 student organizations met with the members of the funding and audit committees for funding meetings within four days. The process was busy and rushed, which O'Hearn thinks won't be as much of an issue with the new system.
Senior Andrew Fosina, a student senator and a member of the funding and audit committees, hopes that a continuing funding process will take some burden off the auditing committee.
"Searching through the funding history will be less complicated, and it should eliminate the chaos at the beginning of the cycle when organizations first get their money," said Fosina.
JS Bragg, assistant director of student affairs, said that, on average, about 10 to 30 student organizations come to his office every week for event planning and financial advice. Some organizations have a set agenda and a major event every semester, while others take more time to plan and confirm speakers.
"Sometimes students find out that speakers became available later in the semester, but it was too late to apply for funding," said Bragg. "This process will give them the opportunity to invite the speaker because there are two more funding application cycles after the first week of school."
O'Hearn sees another benefit of a continuing funding process. Frequent interaction with organizations' leaders will allow ASG to guide those leaders through the complex financial process and for students to address their concerns.
ASG will intentionally allocate the budget so there will be enough money for every cycle. This will help to avoid pressure among student organizations to apply for funds when they do not have enough details to plan accordingly.