Last month, the Student Activities Budget Review Committee processed 57 requests from student organizations attempting to secure funding for capital equipment and spring events.
The purpose of this committee is to allocate the $85 activity fees paid by full-time undergraduate students each semester. SABRC reviews funding requests from student organizations to ensure that “money is spent in the best interest of Bradley students,” according to the committee’s constitution.
But this is where the paradox appears, the issue that faces people at all levels of an organization: is it more important to tailor to the overall majority or to support those in the minority?
Obviously, we live in a country where democracy is held in high regard, and the good of the majority is often emphasized.
But, as is evident by the United States Senate (which features two Senators from each state), attempts are also made to give a fair shake to all entities— whether they represent a significant number of people like California or a small number like Rhode Island.
So with this as our most prominent example, let’s take a look at how this comes into play a little closer to home.
With more than 240 student organizations on campus, most students are likely to find a group that aligns with their interests, whether those concern cultural pride or hobbies as diverse as snow skiing or Pinterest crafting.
Although these organizations may tailor to very different populations, one common theme is the majority of them need funding to operate.
Clubs have a variety of sources of revenue, whether it’s through fundraising, grants, university stipends, membership dues or even advertising. Many, however, rely heavily on SABRC funding to execute their goals.
Well-established organizations with several members and highly-structured roles typically fair well with their funding requests.
The Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU), for example, received full funding for all nine of its requests this fall.
Certainly, ACBU has proven its ability to effectively plan and execute events. As the organization responsible for bringing performers like Wiz Khalifa and Bo Burnham to campus, as well as helping to plan school-wide events such as Homecoming Week and Family Weekend, ACBU events typically aim to appeal to a larger majority of the student body.
Smaller groups that accommodate special interests, however, may have a harder time securing funding for their events because of an inability to attract audiences exceeding 300 people.
These students hoping to foster support for more specific interests can be met with roadblocks, such as having a difficult time determining appropriate amounts of funding to request or SABRC deciding the request tailors to too small of a minority. If the organizations are denied funding, they are forced to find alternative ways of securing money.
After seeing SABRC make sometimes questionable decisions regarding these smaller organizations in the past, the efforts of this year’s committee are both commendable and appreciated.
The committee funded the majority of requests submitted by cultural, religious or social interest groups. Most of those that were not approved either did not meet the policies outlined by SABRC and the Student Activities Office or have previously demonstrated struggles in event execution.
By finding this balance of tailoring to the majority while also supporting smaller groups of specific interests, SABRC helped encourage students to pursue their individual passions rather than conform to the interests of everyone else.
So thank you, SABRC, for helping to increase diversity of interests on campus while continuing to help meet the common interests of the student body.
When spring funding weekend rolls around, we hope to see these balanced efforts repeated.