Dollars and Clubs receives record number of grant requests

Cailin Jessup

The Associated Students Inc. Dollars for Organizations and Clubs program, had a record number of grant applicants for its first February meeting, dividing $14,540 among more than 30 student clubs and organizations.

The program exists as a tool for student clubs and organizations to provide itemized reimbursement grants of up to $3,000 a year to help fund events, promotions and conferences, which were otherwise unaffordable.

“Dollars for Organizations and Clubs can often act as a booster for more recently established clubs who don’t have a strong monetary foundation from dues and membership fees,” said ASI Vice President of Finance Kayla Wheeler.

The average number of clubs and organizations applying for grants has increased since last semester, from an average of 20 clubs per meeting to 40.

ASI is funded through student fees that along with grants, funds Dollars for Organizations and Clubs.

“That’s why it is vital that any event funded through Dollars for Organizations and Clubs is to be free of admission charges, because then students would essentially be paying for an event twice, which would be unfair,” Wheeler said. “Dollars for Organizations and Clubs is all about making sure that these student fees are properly reinvested into the students.”

All official clubs are eligible for Dollars for Organizations and Clubs funding, but must provide a detailed, itemized application to the committee that lists expenses and desired funding.

The applications must then be presented in a petition to the committee and at the meeting of all the applicant clubs, members are required to present a brief explanation of what they want funded, along with an application form.

“The application process is a lot like applying for college, a new job and a car loan all at once,” said Dan Pemberton, president of the Secular Student Alliance, a club for discussion of secular topics and freethinking.

Pemberton said his organization used a Dollars for Organizations and Cubs grant to help bring secular author David Fitzgerald to speak at a campus event last fall.

Though Dollars for Organizations and Clubs funding can be used in different ways, most organizations use the grants to help fund events, conferences or to buy promotional items and pay for guest speakers.

“We use (Dollars and Clubs) funding for a couple different events each semester, including Food Day in the fall and the Nutrition Jamboree in spring,” said Food and Nutrition Club President Megan Foss. “We also utilize the funding towards our club shirts and event equipment.”

The Mixed Martial Arts Club has recently petitioned for a Dollars for Organizations and Clubs grant to pay for new stunt mats to help safely facilitate self defense training classes.

“This semester we are going to be teaching various kinds of throws in our classes, so we very much need those mats,” Ross Garner, a MMA Club representative said.

Clubs can apply individually, but are also encouraged to submit joint applications to share costs.

“At our last meeting we awarded $9,971 to on-campus events and $4,569 to off-campus events,” Wheeler said.  “We prioritize on-campus events because they have a greater potential for student reach, whereas off-campus events often are only limited to the club and their members. No one walks away without funding though. It’s just not always complete funding.”

In recent terms,ASI has utilized resources to establish two additional grant foundations: The National Travel Fund, which helps pay for club travel fees, and the National Championship Fund, which sends competitive clubs to competitions.

Wheeler said having these additional resources allows clubs and organizations more freedom in the expenses that need funded.

“We don’t want students to rely solely on (Dollars and Clubs) as a source of income, and we encourage them to seek out other resources and to fundraise,” Wheeler said. “Having these two other grant foundations has really alleviated what was being asked of (Dollars and Clubs).”

Funding was instrumental in last year’s Health and Nutrition Club’s Nutrition Jamboree, where $200 worth of fruit, paid for through a Dollars for Organizations and Clubs grant, was distributed for free to students to promote healthy eating.

“(Dollars and Clubs) funding has done wonders for our organization,” Foss said. “Without this assistance we may have not been able to host such successful events on campus.”

There are limitations on what grants will fund, including salaries or stipends, events that have previously been submitted or have previously occurred, scholarships, alcohol, graduation paraphernalia, induction events, admission charging fundraisers and food for general club meetings.

To alleviate confusion over what will or will not be approved, ASI offers workshops through Student Organizations and Leadership for organizations to offer coaching on how to successfully and clearly apply and petition for grants.