Having been a member of the Feminist Club for two-plus years, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing —but that’s not my fault.
I joined the Feminist Club as an officer during my first semester at UCCS in the fall of 2021 and became the club’s president in the fall of 2022. Throughout my time as an officer, I’ve had to learn the bureaucratic processes for hosting events, securing funding and navigating Mountain Lion Connect (MLC) all while trying to increase engagement and recruit new members.
Despite my experience, I’m constantly running into red tape and having to navigate the ever-changing rules for clubs. There are a lot of limitations and rules for clubs to follow that many students don’t know about.
Clubs have to re-register and update their constitutions every year, they have to hold elections and they must use UCCS catering for on-campus events unless they get a rare exemption. The most important and most complicated thing that clubs must do is apply for funding.
Clubs can get small amounts of funding from grants or awards, but the main source of money is SGA. Clubs apply for SGA funding each year by submitting a budget proposal to the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC).
Last year I was able to apply for SGA funding for the entire year all at once, with a rough outline of our planned events and an estimate of what it would cost. This year I found that the entire process of applying for club funding has changed, with no warning.
I understand the need for rules and transparency when it comes to funding, but considering clubs are run by students who aren’t familiar with these processes, they shouldn’t have changed the way we apply to make it more complex than it was.
Now, clubs have to show proof that every event is planned and registered on MLC, they have to reserve a room and they have to arrange the event with Catering and Event Services before they can apply for funding. With a limited amount of funding for clubs each year, I’m worried that all the funding will run out before I get the chance to secure all my events.
Securing funding isn’t the only difficulty of running a club, because spending the money is just as hard. I basically have two options:
- I can pay out of my own pocket and then apply for reimbursement, which is a long and complicated process that involves coordinating with Student Life and the Bursar’s Office.
- I can ask someone who works in Student Life to make the purchase for me, but then I’m limited as to what the club can purchase and where we can purchase it from.
This is not to say that the staff who work in Student Life are unhelpful. I’m extremely grateful for their continued patience and willingness to respond to my dozens of emails. However, they wouldn’t have to be constantly fielding emails from students if running a club were simpler.
One of the first things I was told while touring UCCS as a prospective student was that we have tons of clubs to choose from, and that if none of them fit your vibe you could create your own club. But starting your own club is so complicated that it’s no wonder there are so many inactive clubs on MLC. People try to start clubs and give up.
If UCCS truly wants to improve campus life and increase student involvement, they need to make it easier for students to create and maintain clubs.
Photo courtesy of communique.uccs.edu.