CLU clubs speak on funding struggles

Ashley Cope, Reporter

California Lutheran University clubs express concerns about fund budgeting and allocation as well as discuss the effects new guidelines have on the club funds.

In order for clubs and organizations to receive funding, Director of Student Life Andrea Layne said in an email interview that it must submit a budget to the senate and have a representative of the club attend the senate meeting, where the ASCLU Senate will discuss the submitted budget and vote on how much will be allocated.

“The student run Senate takes care to ensure transparency and student accountability in all budget allocations. Due to the extensive paperwork that is involved with Clubs, Student Life professional staff and student interns manage the paperwork and accountability within the budget,” Layne said.

Cal Lutheran graduate Katie Constanzo, former treasurer of History Club, said that the guidelines for this past semester’s budget were very unclear and that the club had no access to the club officers’ page. 

So we had no idea what was going on and we couldn’t see any of our stats or anything. So that was really annoying, but we, as History Club, since there was no instruction, we submitted a budget for the entire year,” Constanzo said. 

Treasurer of Table Top Club Diego Rosas said that the budgeting process was unclear at first, and the new budget sheet for this year was just mentioned but not explained. 

“I think, just, if anything, it’s just a matter of communicating the process could be a little bit clearer but, once, I guess, you know what to do, the process is pretty simple from there,” Rosas said. 

Naja Butler, treasurer of Black Student Union and vice president of Sister Circle, said that budgeting requires a lot of attention to detail and making sure to take the economy into consideration when requesting money. Butler said anything they didn’t allocate for is taken out of the club’s private funds.

“I think something I struggle with often is making sure, especially with the economy, that I am guesstimating how much we would actually need. So, I never put the exact amount because chances are, in two weeks or so, or however long from when I submit the budget to when we need the money, the price could have raised,” Butler said. 

Constanzo said that last semester the History Club budgeted for the club’s movie events, museum trips and for a conference in New Mexico, but only 12% of what was requested was allocated to the first budget submitted. 

“Getting the funding was not easy, then going to the senate meetings and having to explain these rudimentary things, like why I need the money, like ‘why do you need money for History Club,’ to feed the people that are coming to History Club, like we’ve always done. It was just ridiculous,” Constanzo said. 

After difficulties getting money allocated for the club, Constanzo said she started a petition last fall to encourage change and to make club funding transparent. This petition received 49 signatures. 

“Why can’t we see how much each of them are allocated? We can only see sort of the general budget and it goes down after each senate meeting, but why can’t we see the specifics of what money is going where?” Costanzo said. 

During the time this article was written, following Constanzo’s interview and reaching out to representatives in Student Life, the ASCLU Senate webpage was updated, and now shows up-to-date minutes, funding and budgets. Layne said that the position of ASCLUG Relations Director is vacant, which is why the website was not up to date. 

According to the Senate Budget for 2022-2023, $155,786.41 was allocated to clubs and organizations in the fall of 2022 and $56,338.27 for the spring of 2023. The budget includes that 36.82% of the budget has been used and 63.18% of the budget remains. Article IX of the ASCLU Constitution states that 25% of the student activity fees are allocated to the clubs and organizations on campus.

Layne, who included Student Engagement Coordinator Yulissa Alvarado and ASCLU Senate Director Zaria Opara in her email, said allocation guidelines voted on by the senate at the beginning of the school year covered how much money can be spent for meetings, food, raffle prizes, travel accommodations and conferences. 

In the chart of guidelines Layne sent, clubs can be allocated $10 for food per every five members attending. For raffle prizes, when there are zero to 50 attendees, clubs can be allocated $25; when there are 50-100 attendees, $50 can be allocated and when there are more than 100 attendees, $100 can be allocated. When traveling, clubs can be allocated $300 per person for round-trip flights and $150 per night, per room for hotels. 

These guidelines were established to help create an equitable basis for club funding,” Layne said. 

Butler said BSU’s club meeting food budget was cut this year, only being allocated $88 per meeting. Butler said BSU averages around 30-40 attendees at regular club meetings, and it is one of the biggest clubs on campus. 

“We went from having like Chipotle, Panda Express and pizza, we did all these crazy things that I was so thankful for last year, and we can’t do that anymore because with $88 to get those things, I could probably feed about three people, and that is maybe only half of cabinet,” Butler said. 

Layne said other ways clubs can procure funding is by fundraising, club dues, donations, grants and academic and department contributions.

Butler said that BSU will sell T-shirts at events to try to accrue private funds for the club. 

“A big bummer at the beginning of fall semester is BSU, as tradition, has always gone to horror night, and, you know, I won’t get too much into it because I am still not 100% sure on why it was declined, but unfortunately they just didn’t allow it this year,” Butler said. “And same thing as food, you know, once that limit happened it was a dramatic cut-off, ‘OK, you requested this much, but we are only going to give you the $88 and now you need to figure out how many people that feeds.’” 

The Echo reached out to other clubs on campus but did not receive a response before publication.