Mass funding is arguably one of the most important events each semester for Case Western Reserve University’s student organizations. Each semester, the Finance committee of CWRU’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) sets a budget and allocates money to individual student groups, which USG officially recognizes.
The basic procedure for mass funding begins with the initial application, in which organizations outline a semester budget, specifying events and the necessary costs associated with them. The organizations submit this budget to USG to attain funding through the Finance committee. After the committee’s decisions are made, organizations may appeal for additional funds if not awarded the full amount requested. If still not satisfied following the appeals process, organizations may once appeal to USG’s General Assembly, which makes the final decision.
Jesal Shah, USG’s vice president of Finance, said that the process went well this semester. “Considering the $50,000 rollover from last semester,” she said, “the Finance Committee was very successful in allocating their money in such a way as to avoid the previous amount of unspent money.”
When asked about the potential for a rollover next semester, Shah said, “If everything works out, then it will not be as big, and that’s okay. We’re preparing a system for next year where there will be no rollover.”
“I think groups will be able to host more, high-quality, efficient events, while spending money better so there will not be a rollover.”
The surplus from the rollover announced earlier this semester allowed USG to fund more of what groups requested in their budgets. In the past, USG worried that if they did not fund a group enough, the group may not be able to hold enough events. But this year’s supply of available funds allowed larger allocations, so organizations can reach closer to their full potential.
The Finance committee also increased the automatic allocation from $50 to $100. This allocation is awarded to all recognized groups regardless of their budget, and is intended to cover printing and unexpected expenses. Consequently, requests for printing and general advertising expenses are typically not funded when requested as part of semesterly budgets.
The Finance committee budgeted $135,000, and $291,319.52 was requested by student groups. Approximately 44 percent, or $128,551.31, of the sum requested was allocated. This number was $10,000 less than USG expected to allocate in this phase of financing.
The Finance committee sets aside money specifically to be used in the appeals phase. USG tends to recognize groups that come in for appeals, as these groups are generally more dedicated and in need of funding than those who neglect to appeal. The appeal process also allows groups to explain to the committee face-to-face why they believe their event should be funded.
In all, $40,149.77 was given out in appeals, leaving a total of $1298.82 to be distributed in General Assembly appeals.
When asked why some groups tend to be more successful in mass funding, Shah said, “The less dedicated groups that are not devoted to the flourishing of the organization, that are newer, they may make mistakes.”
“That can be solved if they pay attention to the process and their budgets,” she continued. “Planning will decide most of a group’s success. The leadership makes the difference, as long as you’re dedicated and willing to ask questions.”