UFO funds offer organizations funds to host events for students

Changes may be on the horizon for the UFO program, which is important for student organizations.All student organizations need money to function. Sam Houston State University has two groups of organizations: funded and unfunded. Funded organizations receive over half of their money from the Student Services Fee Committee. Unfunded organizations do not receive much, if any, funding from the school. This is why the UFO, unfunded organization, program began.”It’s a program designed to allow student groups that have no funding to be able to hold programs,” said Chris Whitaker, secretary of the Student Government Association.There are many categories of student organizations from religious to social fraternities to community service. As far as UFO money is concerned, any category of organization is eligible, according to Kendrick Spencer, SGA president. “The Student Government Association is an unbiased, non-partisan, equal opportunity organization that will give money to any organization that meets the requirements of the UFO Rules and Regulations,” Spencer said.Funded organizations include Student Government Association, the athletic department, Theater, Phi Beta Sigma, Roteract International Club and Chi Alpha. These and additional organizations and departments are listed in the Student Service Fee (SSF) Master Chart along with how much money they receive.Unfunded organizations include Chi Beta Christian Brotherhood, Sigma Gamma Rho, the social service and service fraternities and sororities. Organizations must meet and follow several requirements to receive the UFO funding. Whitaker said that the program must be on-campus and be open to all students. Also, the application for the event must be turned in to the SGA treasurer at least two weeks before the event.Other rules and procedures are listed on a page that comes with the UFO application. They include no selling of food or alcohol at the event, the event must be on campus, the organization cannot earn a profit from the event and the application must have a stamp of approval from the Department of Student Activities.No organization can get more than $1400 a year from the UFO program. The organization must be an approved organization. Also, organizations that receive money from student service fees are not eligible for UFO money.The UFO program receives its money from part of the Student Services Fee Committee. SGA asks for a certain amount every year. No money is just given to the UFO program. UFO on page 3According to Whitaker, SGA is lightening the requirements and restrictions for the UFO, due to large amounts being left over year. One example of lightening up the restrictions is that UFO money can now be used for food. Before, organizations would have to purchase their own food.Before, they did not do this because organizations would hold “open” dinners for themselves,” Whitaker said. “The UFO program was never meant for groups to throw parties for themselves.”In a letter to SGA from Sue Knight, Student Services, the financial information about what was given out and what was left over is listed.In 2000, there was $14000 given out and $350.85 leftover at the end of the year. In 2001, $14000 was given out and about $3180 was left. $9700 was given out in 2002 and nearly $1550 was left at the end of the year. In 2003, $8800 was given out and only $150 was left over. In 2004, $8000 was given out and nearly $2500 was left.Last year, 2005, saw the largest amount left over so far. $8000 was given out and $6200 was left over.For the 2006-2007 school year, SGA receives $8000 for UFO funds. This is listed in the Student Service Fee (SSF) Master Plan.SGA is considering legislation to change the UFO process. According to Whitaker, there are two views on what to do.The first view is to cut down on the money that SGA asks for, for the UFO. Whitaker said that the more money SGA asks for, the less money Student Services has for other organizations.According to the SSF Master Plan for the 2006-07 school year, there is a proposed budget of almost $6 million for funded organizations and departments.Athletics receives the most money out of all the departments on the SSF Master Plan, almost $3 million. Stonewall Kats, a student organization, is budgeted to receive $1000. SGA is expected to receive $38000 plus $8000 for the UFO. Generally most student organizations, not departments, receive $1000 to $1200.The second view is to keep asking for as much as money as Student Services will give them (SGA) and then lightening the restrictions even more. Doing this, SGA hopes, would cause the UFO money to run out at the end of the year.Whitaker also says that there has been talk of removing the restriction that funded organizations cannot apply for UFO’s.No legislation has currently been passed on the status of the UFO.-30-

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