Otterbein University's Student Life Fee helps to fund student organizations across campus as well as support student life through grants from the leftover fund.
Students that are enrolled full time pay a $100 fee per semester, and $50 of that goes to Student Wellness which supports the Counseling Center. According to Colette Masterson, the director of the Center for Student Involvement at Otterbein University, $50 of that goes to Student Life and this includes student involvement and programming.
This academic year, Otterbein University has budgeted $77,500 for student organizations to request for funding that will benefit the organization and campus.
The money distribution depends on how many requests are submitted by student organizations and any chartered organization that may request funding. “It is important to note that the organizations that submit request vary by year,” said Masterson.
However, to receive funding the organization has to be chartered. Chartered organizations can request funds through the Allocations Committee of Otterbein University Student Government (OUSG), said Casey Rife, OUSG President.
According to Frandie Francique, the treasurer and chair of OUSG Allocations Committee, there are three categories that organizations can apply for, including operating funds, organizational development funds and programming funds. There is $300 available for operating funds which includes advertising and recruitment, such as t-shirts and pamphlets. There is $500 allotted to organizational development, which includes conferences, trainings or retreats. Lodging, food, transportation and registration fees are also provided by this funding. Lastly, depending on the renewal status of the organization, $1,000 or $2,000 is allotted for programming funds per fiscal year for each chartered organization.
Current chartered student organizations include: Active Minds at Otterbein, African American Student Union, OtterPAWS, Ottertuned, Gamer's Guild and several other organizations.
The funding supports student involvement initiatives which include the First Friday Festival, student involvement administration that includes student organization space, OUSG operations such as elections, and student organization funding.
“Funds come from the Student Life Fee in their tuition, so all of that funding goes into a pot and half of it supports the counseling center and support the staff working there and the other half comes to OUSG for allocation,” said Rife.
If a student wants to start an organization, they would need to go through the Student Organization Committee where they would go through the registration and charter process. Applicants will be evaluated and would meet with the committee to talk about why the certain student organization should exist. Once this process is completed, the organization can be registered with Otterbein University.
Student Organizational Development Committee is the group that approves and charters organizations while the Allocation Committee supplies the funding. Thus, all funding inquiries go through OUSG.
“Student Government serves as the avenue for student organizations to exist and also to get that money if they have a program they want to do,” said President Rife.
There are two grants that organizations can apply for: the Student Life Grant and the Student Diversity Life Grant. The Student Diversity Life Grant is coming back this year, according to Treasurer Francique.
The Diversity Life Grant allows for organizations to collaborate between groups to bring a diversity topic to campus.
Once a semester OUSG operates a Student Life Grant. This comes from leftover funds from the Student Life Fee.
“With the Student Life Grant specifically, its grant money that is available to any student or organization on campus. My catch phrase with it is, what does Otterbein need? Because the main thing is that it can go towards anything students feel that is necessary to bring to campus,” said Francique.
The Student Life Grant allows for individuals or groups to apply for a grant that will benefit the campus as a whole. The swing outside the chapel, some of the water bottle stations and the renovations to the Commuter Lounge were ways the Student Life Grant has been used in the past, said Rife.
The Allocations Committee gets the application and reviews grant ideas before the executive board of OUSG decides the final approval or denial for those requests, according to Francique.
The deadline to apply for each grant is Thursday, Feb. 20 by 11:59 p.m.
Editor's note: This story was updated to correct editing errors.