A need for more independently-funded student organizations

Photo by Chris Crews

UNC Charlotte has many different clubs and organizations, ranging from religious and political to advocate organizations. Student organizations are a foundation of college life that make college a more social place to be. However, an important question is brought up concerning student organizations and funding. The Student Government Association (SGA), using student funds, provides some financial aid to qualifying student organizations. According to the student organizations website, aid is divided up into several categories: Operation, Travel, On-Campus Event, Off-Campus Event, Co-Sponsored Event, Movie Theater Grant and Publication. But should aid, comprised of student funds, be given to student organizations?

All students enrolled at UNC Charlotte, including myself, agreed to a certain amount of student fees going toward university fees. A portion of these fees is used to help fund student organizations. According to the student organizations website, the maximum dollar amounts each student organization may apply for within each aid category are as follows: Operational, $250 per semester; Travel, $2,400 per year; On-Campus Event, $2,500 per event; Off-Campus Event, $700 (for a maximum of two events per semester); Co-Sponsored Event, $4,000 (for a maximum of one event per semester); Movie Theater Grant, $600; and Publication, $1,000.  

I don’t believe that aid should be given, even in smaller amounts, to student organizations. Don’t get me wrong, student organizations are a great thing for any university. They help cater to students who want to do more than just go to class every day. They also help add to the social aspect of the university by allowing students interested in common things to meet outside of class and partake in their organizations’ activities. Students who have common interests and goals should create or join a student organization, but it needs to be financially independent of the university. This is due to several reasons, the first is that not all students may agree with the organization’s practices. The second reason is that while we can afford to aid student organizations, is it the wisest allocation of resources?

UNC Charlotte, like most universities, is a place with many different kinds of people and an environment in which those people can share their ideas with others. Religious organizations have a place on campus; they are a place for students to practice their faith. That being said, the organizations should be able to fund themselves and not require any university funding. As students, we pay tuition to come to this university and earn a degree. The money we pay to the university shouldn’t go to any student organization, including religious ones. In effect, students would be indirectly financially supporting an organization, if that organization took any aid from SGA. Students who may not agree with a particular organization’s beliefs or practices shouldn’t have their dollars going to that organization.

Some students may argue that when the university financially supports an organization, it helps improve the university as a whole, and yes that can be true, but not in all cases. Religious and political student organizations are specifically tailored to those who believe in that particular organizations’ beliefs. While they provide benefits for the students involved, those who are not see little to no benefit. It would level the field for all student organizations if none would receive aid from SGA.

While the university can afford to contribute funds to student organizations, is it the best way to allocate financial resources? The Niner Times reported earlier this year that the university has asked the state legislature for $45 million to renovate campus buildings. Considering that, I believe the student organization funds could be better used if they were contributed to the renovation projects or even to maintaining our amphitheater. With the university enrollment at approximately 30,000, the expansion and renovation of the campus has become an increasingly important subject for the university.

Student organizations are a great way for students to get involved in college life, and to contribute to the university, but I believe it is not necessary to use funds from the university in order to do so. Students who may not agree with a particular organization may feel like they are supporting it if they are indirectly helping to fund that organization. The funds could be allocated better and in a way that would contribute to all students, such as building renovations.

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