By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
An additional $11,000 has been allocated to ASUA club funding after the $85,000 budget ran dry midsemester.
Even though the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate had $5,000 more for its budget than last year, the senate has already used up all the club money budgeted for this year for the first time since 1999, organizers said.
Sara Birnbaum, ASUA executive vice president and senate chair, said there was still a quarter of the year left when the original budget of $85,000 ran out, so before spring break the senate approved reallocating $11,000 from the ASUA budget in order to fund clubs for the rest of the semester.
Birnbaum, a political science junior, said it is a great sign the money has been used up because it means more students and clubs are benefiting from the funds that were created for them, not that more money was given out per request.
"We didn't use up all the money because we were financially irresponsible," Birnbaum said. "We actively reached out to students and clubs so they knew there was money here for them."
Each club at the university can request money through the ASUA Appropriations Board, whose seven members meet weekly and decide on requests based on the board's precedents, said Stephanie Hartz, a senator and chair of the appropriations board.
Under the precedents, clubs can receive initial funding once a year, which caps at $150 and can be spent on advertising and start-up material for a club, but clubs can ask for special funding for any amount any time during the year, said Hartz, a molecular and cellular biology senior.
Both Hartz and Birnbaum said they want students to know they should continue to apply for ASUA club funding and should not be discouraged by hearing money has run out.
"We're not concerned with running out of money," Hartz said. "We'll secure more money if necessary to cover the rest of the year."
Last year, the appropriations board feared the availability to clubs was not advertised enough because the year ended with unused money, Hartz said.
To prevent the same problem this year, club advocates and others in ASUA launched an outreach effort called Campaign Club Funding, a grassroots effort through e-mailing and visiting students to increase awareness about club funding availability, Hartz said.
The board saw a significant increase in the number of requests made in the weeks following the campaign, where 10 to 12 requests were made as opposed to two to five, Hartz said.
Without ASUA funding, clubs would still continue, but replacing their donated money would dip into the club's funds that could be spent on more events, said Ana Hoffnagle, president of the UA engineering student council.
ASUA helped out the council by giving them $800 to reserve the Student Union Memorial Center main ballroom on Feb. 21 to hold the Engineering Career Fair, said Hoffnagle, a chemical engineering senior.
Hoffnagle said the club was denied money for two smaller adjacent rooms, but she was still grateful.
"No, we didn't get all the money, but I wasn't disappointed at all," Hoffnagle said. "The cost of the other rooms was minimal compared to the cost of the ballroom, so we were grateful because it was such a help."
Birnbaum said even with the paperwork the clubs have to fill out, the appropriations is a relatively quick process considering some clubs receive $500 and it only takes about an hour.
"That's really good when you think about it," Birnbaum said. "Not many people make $500 an hour."