Competitively funding student organizations

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Asem Abdelfattah

Opinion Editor

Campus involvement is a vital part of the college experience. There are many ways to be involved, and all are arguably important for a student’s development.

Currently, Troy students have three main ways to get involved and active on campus; school-sponsored organizations, student-led organizations, and hybrids such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and University Activities Council (UAC). These organizations offer an avenue for students to create, learn, and enjoy while serving the student body and the Troy community. More could be done by the University to increase participation and efficiency of these programs.

I suggest the creation of a student organization fund that would aim to promote student organizations’ efforts to organize and put out events and activities that have an impact on the student body and the Trojan community. This would encourage students to pursue their passions in a meaningful and fulfilling way with the help of financial and logistical support. The fund would aim to promote healthy competition between student organizations, bringing about  their best ideas and execution.

Student organizations would compete every semester for funds in the following process. Registered student organizations would create a detailed plan for a specific event or activity. The organizations would fill in an application at the beginning of each semester highlighting their plans, how funds would be used, and what impact is anticipated. A special committee will review the applications and allocate resources.

The criteria on which ideas would be accepted could be as follows. First would be cost/benefit analysis. In other words, is the money asked for justified by how many students are involved and how they will be impacted? Also to be considered here is what other resources are available to that organization and what efforts are being made to raise money?

Another important criterion is feasibility. Do the details add up, what steps have already been taken, is there a capable team behind the plan?

Uniqueness and scope could also be taken into account. Has this idea been done before, is there an interest for it? Is it academic, entertaining, career-oriented, or a mix?

Other factors that add merit to an idea could be impact in the greater Troy community, representation of Troy University on a platform otherwise unreachable, and repeatability of the project.

The impact on students could be seen in various ways. Being creative, productive and effective in a field they care about would enhance the students’ learning experience and overall morale. Student leaders who are the most proactive would gain experience and skills that are beneficial in the job market including event planning, volunteer management, marketing, fundraising, sales and more. The student body could benefit from the increased student organization activity. Students would have more events to attend, more clubs to join, and better ways to spend their time on campus.

Troy University would benefit from the increased student participation and morale. It might also benefit from increased positive exposure to the community, mass media, and word-of-mouth. The Troy community could benefit from a more vibrant campus. As student organizations grow, their economic activity may have a noticeable positive impact on the community.

There are of course logistical issues that need to be addressed but a student organization fund could be the most efficient way for the administration and the SGA to support the student body. The student body chooses what it cares about the most and funding goes directly to that. A growing culture of entrepreneur-style student organizations would foster a growing impact year after year as student organizations become more creative and resourceful. 

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