Student clubs must wait to get recognized as official ASUO groups

Have an idea to start up a new club on campus? While the application may be quick and simple, the process to get officially ASUO recognized could leave you waiting in the cold.

To become officially recognized, programs must meet twice each month for no less than six months. They should also have a minimum of five members in attendance and documentation of their meeting, according to ASUO External Vice President Greg Mills.  However, not having a regular meeting space can make it difficult for new groups to achieve this and get officially recognized.

Carter Fritsch, secretary for Young Americans for Liberty, is currently frustrated with the process. His group has been meeting since early October and has about three more months to fulfill the requirement. Yet, it has become pretty expensive for the group to continue holding meetings on campus.

“There (is) almost discouragement with meeting on campus … for clubs who are trying to get started, which seems counterproductive in my opinion,” Fritsch said.

Phil Van Camerik, a student worker at UO Schedules and Events Services, said students who are part of a club that is not yet ASUO recognized can reserve a room three different times for free. However, that does not include equipment that may be needed.  Groups must pay for the space after those three initial meetings, which adds up to approximately $70 per use. @@find [email protected]@

ASUO recognized groups have benefits such as requesting funding funneled from the incidental fee, as well as more practical help like renting out rooms on campus for free or reduced cost. @@checked on ASUO [email protected]@

According to ASUO Program Advisor Julie Scroggins, ASUO acknowledges approximately 183 different groups on campus with approximately 120 receiving funding each year. About 15-20 applications are received each year, with five to 10 becoming recognized organizations. @@find [email protected]@

“The concern is that a group might receive recognition and funding from the student government and then not accomplish anything or lose their group members. The PRRC (Program Review and Recognition Committee) process hopefully ensures that groups have evidence to alleviate those concerns,” Mills said.

Every one of the UO’s fee-paying students contributes $208, which amounts to about $14 million total. It gets divided into four areas, the Program Finance Committee being one of them. The PFC receives about $2 million to spend from the incidental fee that is able to fund student groups.

Fritsch understands the “thorough” process it should take to review a club, especially for those seeking funding, but is confused on the holdup when his organization only seeks one thing: a place to meet on campus.

“It means we can’t establish a regular presence on campus so being able to build the community and develop a regular meeting space was critical to the success of the organization,” Fritsch said. “Right now, because of this, we haven’t been able to do that.”

However, Van Camerik says authorized groups can sponsor a new group by making a reservation on their behalf: a possible alternative for yet-to-be-recognized student groups struggling to pay for a meeting space.

“…Nobody had told us this,” said Fritsch, “Which is interesting because we explored quite a few different options for getting space.”

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