Student organizations — including the University’s clubs, special-interest fraternities and other groups whose operation depends on funds allocated by Student Government — will see their money change hands at the end of the 2017-18 year.
All money distributed to these groups by the Undergraduate Senate in the future will be relocated from accounts managed by the Student Activities Fund Office (SAFO) and into the hands of the Carolina Union business office. SAFO will continue managing funds for the remainder of this year as it slowly phased out.
Money that Student Government gives organizations is held in bank accounts run by SAFO. Money that organizations generate independently through fundraisers, member dues or other means also lies in SAFO accounts.
Student organizations have been asked to move their self-generated funds to external bank accounts by November 15, as part of the first phase in the process of relocating money to the Carolina Union business office.
Benjamin Albert, the treasurer for the Undergraduate Executive Branch, is confident that moving money out of SAFO will make the allocation process more streamlined, cutting costs for students and Student Government.
The Student Organizations fee, a small fraction of the cost of tuition, is the source of the money Student Government distributes to organizations that file for funding. However, SAFO costs eat into this money. Last year, Student Government was able to complete only 32 percent of its funding requests.
A referendum passed last year bumped the fee from $39 up to $49, and Albert said half of the revenue from the 10 dollar increase is funneled straight to SAFO to keep the office afloat and effective.
“That’s money that could have gone to student organizations if we didn't have to pay that fee,” Albert said. “The whole point of phasing out SAFO is to reduce costs, and the costs are going to be way lower.”
Most agree that the processes which determine how much money is given to different organizations will not change. The changes will be seen in where the money is stored and how the money is moved to the organization, said Tarik Woods, rules and judiciary committee chair.
“I don’t think this change is going to heavily affect how we distribute funds,” said Woods.
While student organizations are in the midst of moving money around to meet the first deadline this November, University-sponsored organizations will utilize SAFO for the remainder of the year until the management responsibilities are transferred to the Carolina Union business office.
CUAB Vice President of Finance Viviane Mao is unsure how the fiscal management process will change for organizations’ funds, and said she hasn't seen many signs of adjustment to the upcoming changes coming from her office.
Those with roles in handling the financial interactions between Student Government and the organizations have almost come to a consensus that for both parties, this is the right move.
“It is very difficult,” Woods said, referring to dealing with SAFO in the past. “Not just for students, but for a lot of people involved.”
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