February 28, 2014 by Editorial Board
At the Student Leader Networking Reception Wednesday February 26, it was revealed that the Undergraduate Student Government Association will changing the new student organization application process. For the first time in Drexel history, rather than requiring students to wait until summer or fall to apply to create a new student organization each year, USGA will allow rolling applications throughout the year. According to USGA Student Organization representative Chris Brennan, the decision was made to expand the recognition process in order to parallel the expansion of the University and accommodate an increase in new organization applications.
For now, the application process for new student organizations to receive funding from the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee will remain the same. That is, existing organizations as well as those approved under the rolling basis applications will still have to wait the usual year to apply for funding. The USGA is looking into changing that policy for new student organizations going forward, however, in hopes of fostering growth in fledgling organizations. This means in the future organizations could receive funding within their first year of recognition.
Whether the accelerated SAFAC application process becomes a reality or not, The Triangle believes these upcoming and potential changes could only improve student involvement. Each year, thousands of freshmen arrive on campus and try to find a place for themselves in their new home. Joining student organizations is a large part of that experience. At Drexel, being involved on campus is more than just a resume-builder. It is a way to connect with our community, make friends and build character. Increasing opportunities for students to create groups on campus will improve the quality of student life by promoting diversity of interests and providing a variety of activities in which students can participate.
Of course, participating in a campus organization is a great way to learn real-world skills. Drexel students already have a reputation for being driven and passionate, thanks in part to our co-op program. Student groups are increasingly becoming part of this reputation, as they give students the leadership experience and skills necessary to make a name for themselves post-graduation. Encouraging organization founders and opening up more leadership opportunities for students throughout the year will put even more Dragons on the right track to their dream job.
The current new student organization recognition process is painstaking and time-consuming, as dozens of our peers who wait patiently for applications to open every year know all too well. After this application process closes, the USGA must go over every application at once to approve organizations and start their founders on the path to recognition. One can imagine how overwhelming is must be for the USGA to take on this mountain of applications all at once. Allowing for students to apply throughout the year not only captures leaders’ enthusiasm and initiation at its peak, but lessens the burden of USGA by spreading out this task over the year. These changes could also potentially speed up the recognition process in general, which is notoriously lengthy.
Additionally, the possibility of allowing new organizations to receive funding could have innumerable positive outcomes for these organizations. Any student leader who has had to work with no funding knows how difficult it is to continue operations at the most basic level, let alone to hold even the smallest event. Though Drexel provides some opportunities for new organizations to apply for grants and funding throughout the year, it can be taxing on a group’s morale to have so many roadblocks between them and their dream student involvement level. Providing even minimal funding for nascent organizations could keep many from fizzling out over that tough first year.
The University is expanding with every incoming class, and we are proud that the USGA has recognized they must accommodate this change. We hope these changes to student organization recognition have positive effects on the student body and increase our already exciting levels of student involvement.
If you are interested in starting a new student organization, please visit http://drexel.edu/studentaffairs/get_involved/campus_activities/student_organizations/