Brandeis boasts an active student campus, known for its clubs, extracurriculars and events. There are roughly 250 clubs varying in focus, including academic, service, sports, political activism, media and publications, arts and culture and spiritual and religious. Every semester, the Student Union’s Finance Board is in charge of allocating funding to these clubs, though not every club that requests money is endorsed. Ricky Rosen, the President of the Student Union, sat down with The Hoot to discuss the F-Board’s mission and duties. As president, Rosen has the power to veto any decision made by F-Board, although he does not sit in on the F-Board meetings during the allocation.
When students are accepted into Brandeis, each undergraduate must pay a student activities fee of $230 as part of their tuition. From this fee, $1.6 million is accumulated, which is later distributed and and used to pay other costs pertaining to student activities.
“The $1.6 million is not the raw number that goes to F-Board. There are other outlets, such as paying Stephen Costa, the budget analyst, and paying for expenses in the office,” Rosen said.
F-Board consists of six members: five elected by the student body and one member appointed by the president. In the beginning of the semester, F-Board holds a marathon, during which the six members vote on funding and the Treasurer and Director of Student Activities sits in as an advisor. For the spring of 2014, F-Board allocated $303,332.70 to 124 clubs. Of these 124 clubs, 70 clubs received 100 percent funding. However, 17 clubs were not given any funding, though some of these clubs had also not asked for funding.
When the board makes a decision, Rosen said, it has many factors to consider.
“For starters, we look at how much clubs asked for in the past and then we look at the current need for every other club for funding,” he said. Reasons why F-Board will not allocate funds to some clubs might be due to “not having any need met” or “planning an event which never takes place.” Regardless, there are seven secured clubs on campus, which receive roughly the same funding every semester. These clubs are the Waltham Group, The Justice, BEMCO, Archon, SSIS, WBRS and BTV.
If a club does not request money for the semester, typically it will not attend the marathons, but of course there are exceptions. F-Board also holds early marathons within the last two weeks of the semester where clubs are able to request money for the following semester. If a club has leftover money at the end of the semester, the club loses access to that money for any later semester.
When clubs believe they do not receive enough funding, they are able to appeal by filing forms and waiting for F-Board to file the necessary documents. Lastly, if a club needs urgent money for an event, F-Board has an emergency fund to assist the club in a dire circumstance.
Although F-Board is the core financial supporter for all student organizations, clubs are able to receive money from outside sources such as via alumni, advertising or other individuals that can donate to specific causes. Clubs may also hold fundraisers, where they can receive additional funds through bake sales, clothing sales or other events. The treasurer of the club is generally in charge of how the club spends its money.
In previous years, F-Board allocated more money to various clubs than was actually requested by those clubs. Rosen said that he was not personally involved in those extra allocations, so he did not have a specific response. As a critical component of the Student Union, F-Board has many duties and responsibilities to the clubs, activities and events on campus. Through the F-Board allocations, hundreds of clubs are enabled and strengthened, allowing for a stronger campus community.