Funding fails to accommodate for increase in clubs

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Club funding was not increased to accommodate for the greater number of clubs on campus this year. It has been more difficult than usual for Student Senate to provide funding for clubs, said Ankit Shingala, ’20, Student Senate’s vice president of finance.

“We have increased the capacity of the amount of clubs we have taken in under Senate,” Shingala said. “Usually, Lehigh gives an increase every year that we can use in the budget, but this year, we have not been given an increase.”

Shingala said there are thorough steps clubs must take in order to be financially supported. She said they are working with the dean of students in order to receive more money for not only this year, but also the future so the Senate can provide the funding for the increase in the amount of clubs. 

Student Senate determines and approves how much funding clubs receive.

“Under Student Senate, we have approximately 280 organizations under jurisdiction,” Shingala said. “From there, club members can ask for funding through Lehigh LINC. Next, any executive board members can go into that system and find their organization. Then, the students are required to fill out a form answering a few questions, and their request is then reviewed by Student Senate.” 

Senate member Victor Cochrane, ’22, said providing funding for clubs is an equitable process. 

He said when a club requests money, the allocations committee decides how much it will need to provide for the actual activity and the other factors of the club’s event.

In the form the clubs fill out, Student Senate asks: “What is the purpose of this event? How much money is this organization requesting? How many students are attending this event?”

“When clubs are asking for funding, keep in mind Student Senate isn’t a bucket full of money, and there are certain restrictions that it has when it comes to funding,” Cochrane said. “We have a very fair distribution of what clubs get funding as long as it is in a reasonable price point.”

Shingala said Student Senate also evaluates whether or not it thinks the event will have a positive impact while determining to grant funds. He said members want to make sure the clubs are conducting programs that are inclusive, constructive and progressive for the campus.

Some clubs feel as though they are being neglected.

Savanna James, ’21, vice president of Black Student Union, said Student Senate has been very accommodating in providing sufficient funding for their programs and events. However, she said she believes Lehigh also needs to focus on the smaller multicultural groups on campus.

“Lehigh doesn’t pay as much attention to smaller clubs because they’re more hesitant to give them funds, which I don’t believe is fair,” James said. “A lot of these small clubs, especially the multicultural ones, have a lot of potential to grow, but they don’t have the money to do the programs that they want to do, which creates a counterproductive cycle.”

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