The Student Finance Committee was able to fund excess student organizations throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. CCC manages and distributes the Student Activities Fund and for the past two years has had access to surplus funds in the absence of in-person events and organizational activities. However, CCC has now spent this budget surplus and will revert to the distribution practices it used prior to the 2019-2020 academic year.
To receive funding, student organizations must submit semester budgets to the SFC, which are subject to a review and approval process by student leaders on the committee. The Student Activities Fund is a mandatory student activity fee pool collected from nearly all College students each semester. For the 2021-2022 academic year, each student paid a total of $556 in student activity fees.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many large SFC-funded events – such as Solarity and Drag Ball – did not take place in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. Third-year College Co-Chair and SFC Co-Chair Leo Hidy explained that because SFC did not have to fund these events, the organization entered the 2021-22 academic year with an SAF surplus of more than $500,000 and could fund student organizations more generously than it had in the past.
“SFC is super happy to have seen all of the amazing things student organizers have accomplished this year, and we’re proud that every SAF dollar has been put back into the hands of students,” Hidy wrote in an email to Review.
However, CCC has now spent all of this surplus. The size of the SAF for the 2022-2023 academic year will likely be more consistent with the size of the SAF for the 2019-2020 academic years. This means that some organizations will not receive as much funding as they did last school year or all the funding they applied for for the fall 2022 semester.
“This latest round of budget requests for [fall ’22] has seen a huge increase in the amount of funds requested,” Hidy wrote. “Unfortunately, we simply don’t have enough in the SAF to fund the growth of all these organizations and also to ensure that there are sufficient funds to support the creation of new organizations.”
According to Hidy, SFC seeks to distribute SAF as evenly as possible, and all organizations, large and small, will likely face the effects of this change in funding practices.
“All organizations will see a difference in the allocation of [2022 — when we had the surplus — to 2023 — when we won’t have the surplus],” Hidy wrote.
As part of its funding for student organizations, SFC funds equipment rentals for the Oberlin Musical Theater Association and student performers. According to OMTA
Olivia Bross College co-chair and third year, OMTA is not affiliated with the theater department and therefore does not have access to department supplies.
“As co-chair of OMTA, I have seen firsthand how much we rely on SFC for funding,” Bross wrote in an email to Review. “Our last OMTA show, Chicago, was very successful, but it was only possible with SFC funding due to lack of supplies from the theater department.”
Hidy has expressed interest in potentially collaborating with university departments such as the theater department to alleviate some of these concerns.
“We often get quite expensive requests for equipment costs that university departments already have access to, such as guitars, banjos, microphones, lighting, costumes, cameras, etc. [sic],” Hidy wrote. “SFC would like to work with university departments to reduce the burden of equipment costs on SAF, thereby freeing up more funds for student organizations.”
Another group funded by CCC is the Student Senate. CCC provides funds for the organization’s payroll. Third-year College and SLAC Treasurer Izzy Sanchez-Foster argues that it shouldn’t be funded by SAF.
“The Student Senate is an organization formed by the school to give students a seat at the administrative table,” Sanchez-Foster wrote in an email to Review. “From this, it is abundantly clear that the Student Senate is a school-sponsored group and should therefore be funded by the college’s payroll office.”
In addition to funding student organizations, SAF also funds College Lanes, The ‘Sco, Cat in the Cream, and some residential education expenses. When asked why the SAF funds the operation of certain facilities that appear to fall outside the category of student activities, Associate Dean of Students Thom Julian clarified that the SAF is intended not only to fund student organizations , but also to generally improve student life on campus.
“The Student Finance Committee allocates funds to support student organizations and improve campus life,” Julian wrote in an email to Review. “To achieve this mission, they fund specific on-campus programming initiatives that are not official student organizations.”
Hidy clarified that while SFC will have a relatively smaller SAF to manage in the 2022-23 school year, SFC has reserves and is not in a budget deficit.