The finance division is offering up to $2000 “fast-tracked” grants for Registered Student Organizations (RSO) this semester as well as next semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year Ferris has seen a drastic decrease in RSOs requesting funding for events and other things, most likely attributed to COVID-19. In order to make the process easier, the finance division has decided to offer “fast-tracked” grants – which as the name implies – are grants that don’t have the same time guidelines that are typical when requesting RSO funding.
Teresa Fogel is the Student Activities Specialist, who works with RSOs, events, contracts, purchasing, and the Student Activity Fund with the Finance Division of Student Government. She explained what the process for receiving RSO funding has been previously.
“RSOs must update their profile in Bulldog Connect to be eligible and be up to date with any previous allocations. They then attend one of our training meetings to learn the new process. There is an application to fill out in Bulldog Connect, along with a completed budget sheet. They also meet with a mentor from the Division to go over the paperwork and learn about how to give the presentation. It may take several meetings with a mentor to get the forms in order. There are time guidelines associated with the requests. The more money you are asking for, the more time is needed,” Fogel said.
Christine Labby is the Director of Finances for student government she also sits on the cabinet of student government.
As the Director of Finances, she works directly with RSOs who need funding for events and/or travel and is present when an RSO presents to the board with a request.
“All of the voting members that sit on the division and anyone else that wants to can ask them (the RSO members) questions based on their presentation of why they think the student activity fund would be an appropriate fund to pay for the expense,” Labby said.
It is a serious process because the money being allocated is the student’s money. Each semester students pay $20 with their tuition that goes into a pot overseen by the finance division to support RSOs and events. If the $20 isn’t used, then it is refunded.
Since this process can be time-consuming the “fast-track” grant was implemented this year to make a more streamlined process for RSOs hoping to host events.
“It could be a virtual event, a philanthropy event, or on-campus something safe with social distancing. Kind of the world is their oyster to plan whatever they want,” Labby said. “This semester we have had an immense decrease, I would love to see more RSOs come and present to finance division because our money carries over from semester to semester, but this is the student’s money and I want them to be able to use it.”
Nicholas Smith is the activities coordinator at Ferris, he has seen firsthand the decrease in events as well as the struggle for many RSOs to plan events with the ever-changing virus precautions.
“Sigma Lambda Beta, American Marketing Association and Student Government have all been doing quite a few activities along with Entertainment Unlimited. Some groups are still meeting in a virtual format, and active in their own way, they just aren’t active on campus or very visible to others,” said Smith.
Entertainment Unlimited (EU), led by Lane Stefke among others, is one group that has been working hard to have activities and events for students in these unprecedented times.
“Things have changed a lot for EU. We have been trying to keep up with new rules and regulations while still offering fun and safe events for students. We’ve been trying to have in-person events when we can, but with the cold weather not allowing us to be outside, we’ve been throwing more online events,” Stefke said. “EU definitely hasn’t shut down and we have lots of events planned for next semester, both in-person and online.”
Fogel, Labby and the entire finance division are always available to help RSO’s with funding and events.
“We just want to encourage all RSOs to reach out if they need help when it comes to funding, we can be as flexible as possible and try to work with RSOs because we want them to use this money, we want them to be active on campus, even in the crazy time that we are in,” Labby said.