Several clubs applied for funding as soon as they were able to in June, burning through the entire yearly operating budget by the eighth week of fall quarter.
After Cal Poly clubs burned through the entire yearly operating budget by the eighth week of fall quarter, Associated Students Inc. (ASI) activated nearly $30,000 in reserve funds on Jan. 29.
The extra funding was necessary to keep clubs moving through the end of the year, biological sciences senior and Board of Directors Vice Chair Jordan Lippincott said.
“Our club funding pot has diminished to zero, which is expected and a very good thing because it means all the money is being used,” he said. “(We) thought there could be a higher need to bring some more money in to disperse among more clubs.”
ASI began the year with an operating budget of $54,000 plus a $10,000 grant from Cal Poly Corporation to split between 256 chartered clubs, software engineering sophomore and club funding liaison Myra Lukens said.
Several clubs applied for funding as soon as they were able to in June, Lukens said. Those who waited too long would have missed out on their share without the extra cash.
“If you have a new club that wants to charter or establish their club and then get funds, they probably won’t be able to because it’s first come, first serve,” Lukens said.
ASI has steadily withdrawn more and more money from the reserves every year, though the full amount is rarely used. Clubs ran out of cash midway through winter quarter this past year, prompting ASI to draw $20,000 from the reserves.
Clubs can request sponsorships or event co-sponsorships totaling a maximum of $1,500 per year.
Any club can receive a $350 sponsorship as long as the money doesn’t go toward refreshments or officers’ personal gain. To be eligible for co-sponsorships, clubs must be hosting an event or providing a service to benefit non-members.
“It needs to be more than your club,” Lippincott said. “It has to be open to a wide variety of students before that money actually is used.”
Out of the 256 clubs, 133 received sponsorships and 18 received co-sponsorships, Lippincott said. Club sports, which started the year with $61,000, are run through the Club Sports Council and do not have access to the $29,000.
Lukens and fellow liaison Emily Mallett requested $24,708.05 in additional funding from ASI’s Business and Finance Committee, which Lippincott chairs. Once approved, the proposal was passed onto the Board of Directors, which added an additional $5,000 to the pot.
The reserves held about $49,000 before the withdrawal, Lukens said. Reserve funds are typically held to help re-activate disbanded clubs, many of which are not likely to get back together from February through the end of the school year.
Clubs asking for more funding have been turned away since the original budget dried up in November. ASI now has to use marketing strategies, such as booths in the Julian A. McPhee University Union, to inform club officials about the newly freed money, or more funds might not be available in the future, Lukens said.
“I really hope that clubs actually utilize the additional funds,” she said. “In order for this to keep happening, we do need the clubs to use these funds, because it’s going to look bad if clubs don’t use the funds we allocate.”
If clubs don’t take advantage of the extra money, ASI could be reluctant to supply more in the future.
But if Lukens and Mallett have their way, there could be different a withdrawal system altogether next year — the two are brainstorming ideas to reform the original budget and withdrawal system, since recent history has shown more and more clubs requesting money. While nothing is concrete yet, Lukens said many of their ideas were centered on increasing the original budget.
“Our goal is to have it so there are more funds for clubs so that they won’t run out as fast, or so the rollout of club funding is slower,” she said. “There are a couple different policies that we’re considering, but none of them have been presented.”