Student Government Association uses student fees to fund campus organizations


Hennessey Chism, ways and means chair of the Undergraduate Student Congress at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, sits in the meeting room of the Student Government Association Feb. 27.

Caitlyn Epes

Student activity fees allow the Student Government Association of the University of Oklahoma in Norman to fund over 500 registered student organizations every year. For the Fall 2017 to Spring 2018 school year, every student was charged $5.95 per credit hour for student activity fees.

Hennessey Chism, ways and means chair of the Undergraduate Student Congress, said that the student activity fees committee chooses how much of the activity fee goes to the SGA budget.

As ways and means chair, Chism said she has the opportunity to decide which registered student organizations receive funding and how much money the SGA gives to those organizations. Registered student organizations apply for primary and auxiliary funding for everything they need money for during the school year, from meeting supplies to venues for events. The application process allows Chism to review the fiscal history and campus impact of every organization, and, usually, the larger, more unique groups receive larger amounts of money, Chism said.

“We just want to make sure that as much OU funding as possible is going to as many students as possible,” Chism said.

For larger student organizations on campus, the money that the SGA allocates each year is not always enough to function properly. Brianna Thomas, treasurer of the Black Student Association, said she asked the SGA for around $42,000 to fund the Black Student Association during the next school year, which is more than they have received in the past. Thomas said she knows they asked for a lot of money, but the BSA always puts the money to good use.

“We spend lots of money because we’re trying to cater the events for our community,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the BSA receives sponsorships in order to meet the fiscal requirement of some of their larger events, but she is grateful for the money that the SGA allocates to her organization, even if it’s not always enough.

“When it comes to the BSA, yes it’s nice to have money to put on these events, but at the same time, we can make it work, that’s what we have to do all the time, we can make it work,” Thomas said.