Recently, the Undergraduate Student Senate (USS) voted on and approved their budget for the 2016-2017 school year, allocating nearly a quarter of the entire budget, about $103,000, for use by campus clubs and organizations.
The budget, which was created in large part by the USS Advisor Steve Klein, sets aside precisely $93,850 to be distributed to different clubs and organizations on campus throughout the year, setting aside an additional $10,000 to be used for new club start-ups.
The $93,850, which falls under the line item of “Clubs and Organizations” on the official budget document, will be distributed by the USS to nearly 80 returning clubs and organizations as the year progresses.
According to senior Lorraine Basch, USS vice president of leadership, the distribution of funds to different clubs and organizations is no easy task and is part of a long and complex process.
“At the end of every school year, clubs and organizations are required to fill out a form if they want to return and remain as a club on campus the following year, and in that form they ask for money,” Basch said. “Then we look at how much money they had the previous year, how much money they actually spent and what they did with the money they had. From that we decide how much money they should get.”
Basch explained that the final distribution of funds to clubs is not a singular decision and is instead a decision the entire USS has a say in. Once a proposal for the distribution of funds to clubs is created, it will be brought to a USS meeting and after some discussion and debate has taken place a vote to approve or deny the proposal will be held.
Along with determining the distribution of club funds for the year, the USS will also be working with students who are attempting to start new clubs on campus.
“Any student can start a club,” Basch said. “But there has to be interest for the club on campus.”
Of course the process of actually starting a new club is a little more extensive. The USS requires students interested in starting a club to complete and include in their official proposal a letter requesting recognition, a constitution, a club recognition application form, a club officers information roster, an advisor letter and compliance statement before submitting the request for consideration.
According to Basch, there has already been a number of students who have contacted her about starting new clubs this year and a few of these potential new clubs were even present at the most recent club fair.
One of this year’s potential new clubs is the Social Dance club. This club will provide students with an alternative to normal school dances and embrace more formal styles of dance like classical, swing and ballroom.
Junior Felicity Dyall, the student starting the club, has not yet submitted the official form for recognition to USS. However, she did note that she believed the process for stating clubs could be made easier.
Junior Alexa Backanen, who is attempting to start a disabilities club where people who have disabilities or who are affected by disabilities can commune in a safe and nurturing environment, felt the same way and thought the process for starting clubs could be made shorter and easier.
These clubs, along with other potential new clubs, will eventually be voted on by the USS and pending induction onto campus will have access to a portion of the $10,000 that has been set aside in the USS budget for new clubs.
“Clubs offer students a place where they can learn and grow,” Basch said. “I think it is really important at Pacific that everyone has a place where they can really fit in and be given the opportunity to experience different things and that is what clubs do.”