The Student Finance Board (SFB) heard five new club requests, three special appropriations requests and one lecture request last week.
With many new clubs to consider supporting, SFB executive director Jon Borst advised the board on criteria for new clubs. He said that “funding is a privilege,” so new clubs need to be considered based on the programs they plan to sponsor, the different perspective they may offer to the campus, and if they can exist without funding.
There are currently 74 clubs funded by the Student Activities Fund (SAF), not including club sports.
“I want to see the number of clubs shrink to make other clubs more successful,” Borst said.
SFB was especially cautious this week when deliberating new clubs’ proposals.
SFB’s policy this year is a change from last year. New clubs only request funding for the publicity they would need if recognized as an SAF-funded organization.
Jessica Ho, sophomore law, politics and philosophy major, presented the club request for the Pre-Law Society. Pre-Law Society is for students interested in pursuing a career in law and who plan to attend law school. The club would offer Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) preparatory classes and trips to law schools.
In a unanimous vote, the Pre-Law Society was denied SAF recognition and therefore received zero funding for its publicity costs.
Later in the meeting, two representatives from Best Buddies introduced their club. Members are paired with an intellectually disabled adult from the Arc of Mercer County to correspond and attend social events with their buddy.
Best Buddies originally asked for $133 for publicity, but SFB adjusted its proposed budget to $144. SFB unanimously voted to approve Best Buddies for SAF funding.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) presented a request to form the SAE Mini Baja Club. Three representatives explained how they would build an all-terrain vehicle to compete at a national competition against other colleges and universities.
Designing an all-terrain vehicle is a part of the senior project in the School of Engineering at the College, but it is not required to build an actual vehicle. Due to this fact, SFB unanimously voted to deny the SAE Mini Baja Club SAF recognition and funding.
Four students presented their proposal for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). This club would help women to reach their full potential in engineering – a male-dominated industry. In a 10-4 vote, SWE was granted club status and given $105 for publicity.
The College Latin Ballroom Dance Club, which provides lessons to learn different types of dance, also made a proposal. SFB was hesitant to vote in favor of this club because of the number of dance clubs it may have to fund in the future, but a motion for full funding of $17.50 and SAF recognition was approved in a 12-1 vote.
The Asian American Association (AAA) had two requests regarding November’s Experience Asia Month.
The first was a special appropriations request to bring comedian Dat Phan, winner of the first season of “Last Comic Standing,” to perform. Since “comedian acts always do well on campus,” according to Omar Selim, SFB operations director, SFB fully funded this event for $5,809.
Then AAA presented their lecture request to bring Da Chen, an author of numerous books about his struggles in the deep south of China, to speak at the College. “It’s their month so it’s important to have a keynote speaker,” Borst said. Soon after, SFB fully funded the request for $3,524.
PRISM also made a special appropriations request for events and items to promote Queer Awareness Month, which includes the Coming Out Monologues and Queer History at the College. In a 12-2 vote, PRISM was fully funded for $500.
The last special appropriations request was made by the International Studies Club (ISC). The club plans to attend a Model United Nations conference at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. John Connelly, senior international studies and Spanish major and a representative of ISC, explained how this conference is important for students to find non-governmental and international jobs. In another unanimous vote, SFB funded ISC for $800.