Student organizations and events at Boston University will receive an increase of $500,000 in funding this year.
Dhruv Kapadia, Boston University student body president and junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said funding for undergraduate student organizations and events comes from the $134 Community Service Fee paid by full-time undergraduates at BU each year.
Kapadia said the additional $500,000 comes from a reserve fund that consists of unused CSF funds from previous years, bringing total funding for this academic year to approximately $2.7 million.
The Allocations Board, a student-run committee, moderates 45% of the $2.7 million budget, according to Kapadia. However, he said there are “flaws in the system.”
“I think the fact that Allocations Board is not a directly elected organization and is made up of a couple dozen students that don’t really have oversight from the student body is a bit troubling,” Kapadia said.
Allocations Board did not respond to requests for comment.
Kapadia said 33% of the CSF funds have historically gone towards event programming and in prior years, SAO had access to those funds. However, this year, that allocation goes directly to Campus Activities Board and Student Government instead.
Kathleen Mendoza, junior in CAS and vice president of Campus Activities Board said CAB has a larger budget this year.
“CAB was a relatively small group in years before so this is the first year that we are dealing with a larger budget,” Mendoza said.
Isabel Mullens, a senior in CAS and president of Undergraduate Women in Economics, said AB and SAO were “super easy to work with and helpful” during the process of securing funding for her organization this summer.
Hany Jasmine, a senior in CAS and co-director of BostonHacks, which hosts 300 to 500 participants from different schools and internationally at annual hackathons, said her organization always had issues with SAO.
“It’s really hard for us to get money solely from sponsors, so we really wanted to get money from SAO this time around,” Jasmine said.
BostonHacks has a deficit on their account from 2019 that prevents them from being able to receive any SAO funding. Jasmine said she has met with AB to work on clearing the deficit so her organization’s event is possible.
“[Allocations Board] themselves are students so I guess some of them really understood us and the impact that we have in our presence both on campus and nationwide and even internationally,” Jasmine said.
Jasmine is still waiting to meet with the director of SAO to address the deficit on her organization’s balance and their issues with funding.
“I’ve been hoping to sit down and talk to [SAO],” Jasmine said. “I’ve been reaching out but haven’t gotten a response … I wish that they could see the impact that we have.”
SAO wrote in an email no one was available to comment at this time.
Student Government can distribute less than $20,000 per year while Allocations Board can distribute about $700,000 for requests per year, he said.
“[The increase in funding] is going to be felt pretty tangentially throughout that process of going to AB and then AB giving it to students,” Kapadia said.
Kapadia said that student organizations can come to Student Government senate meetings to request funding.
“The funds are funded by students and it should be students having a say in what those events look like,” Kapadia said. “In terms of the planning and where ideas are coming from, it’s coming from students this year.”
Kapadia said student control of money has not happened to this extent before.
“It’s all students’ money, and it should be students in control of that money,” Kapadia said.
Is club sports going to receive more of this funding?
Let’s get rid of the publications policy so students who run publications identified as a “journal of opinion” – whatever that is — can benefit from the money they contribute to the student allocations fund. This policy was instituted in the 1970s after a campus newspaper filed suit against BU in a fight over free speech on campus. The bu exposure was denied funding when they refused to submit to prior review.