The Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC) has made changes to several of its policies starting this semester. The changes implemented include asking organizations to record attendance at events, placing a cap of 300 printed copies of publications starting Spring 2015 and shortening the process to access Procard (Purchasing Card), a more efficient system for different organizations and departments to make necessary purchases. SOFC has also announced that this year’s fall budgeting dollar per student ratio is $148.95, an all-time high in comparison to previous years.
SOFC decides on funding policies and procedures, and the student bursar is the non-voting chair of the committee. Eugene Lee ’15, the current student bursar, discussed the reasoning behind the specific changes implemented this semester. Lee mentioned that previously, when ProCard was accessible through the Controller’s Office, organizations had expressed that the process was tedious and, at times, confusing. By creating a form for organizations to fill out and offering appointments, Lee hopes to ease the process of applying for funding.
“Organizations can now use the ProCard by submitting the form and making an appointment with me, instead of having to go through three different entities,” Lee said.
SOFC has also begun asking organizations to justify the number of student attendees in their funding applications. To make sure that funds are being allocated reasonably, SOFC is encouraging organizations to keep updated attendance records.
“The committee wants to ensure that the student activity fund is being fairly distributed and used,” Lee said. “With the request to justify the number of student attendees, organizations are being more conscientious about their expected number of attendees.”
During this year’s fall budgeting deadline, the dollar-per-student ratio was an unprecedented high of $148.95 compared to last year’s rate of $16.00. Lee attributed the much higher rate to SOFC taking strides to ensure that organizations follow policies outlined in the treasurer’s manual, but notes that correlation does not indicate causation.
She said that SOFC is approving fewer requests as organizations adhere more to the policies, as fewer organizations are applying for funding, and as the organizations that do are applying for fewer events in general. Lee accredited the decrease in funding applications to the recent “Do Less,” #doless, campaign to combat over-programming on campus, led by College Government Vice President Charlotte Harris ’16.
“It seems that organizations are responding to Charlotte, SOAC, and College Government’s “Do Less” campaign -— educating everyone about over-programming at Wellesley,” Lee said.
SOFC has also voted to implement a cap on publications such as the Wellesley Review, Counterpoint and GenerAsians. Starting with the spring semester, these publications will only be allowed to print 300 copies per semester, with organizations having the option to appeal for up to 100 additional copies with sufficient indication of readership. Celina Reynes ’16, co-editor-in-chief of the Wellesley Review, the college’s literary magazine, has expressed concern over the effect of the newly-instated cap on the future of publications.
“Basically, it means that not everybody who wants to see their work will get a chance to. It undervalues the magazine, Reynes said. “It stops our growth.”
In addition to the changes stated above, SOFC has also adjusted its formulas for transportation prices to reflect the increases in MBTA prices and has gotten rid of the electrician’s overtime rate due to the fact that organizations have been working with different entities with different prices and that the previous definition of the rate was unclear and outdated.
So far in the year, Lee has accomplished three of her goals as Student Bursar. She brought the Constitution up to date and made it gender-neutral, though it still has to be approved by Senate and House Council, completed her ProCard initiative for easier funding applications for organizations and updated many SOFC policies.
Despite having achieved many of her goals, Lee still has many plans in progress for this year. Some of the more short-term objectives include releasing a survey for feedback later in the month and researching and comparing funding at other institutions to Wellesley’s to explore most efficient and fair methods of fund distribution. She mentioned that the first round of research is coming to a close this Friday since she had a discussion with positional equivalents at five of the six Seven Sisters schools last weekend. For more ongoing plans, Lee intends to draft a five-year plan for future student bursars, make long-term goals regarding funding policies and structure as well as devise and enact auditing process between SOFC and campus organizations.
“As Student Bursar, one of my duties is to act as an auditor of student organizations,” Lee said.
She also hopes to revamp the website to make it more accessible and user-friendly, and make SOFC and the Bursar’s Office more accessible overall.
Photo by Soojin Jeong ’17, Photography Editor