Quinnipiac administration increases student organization funding by $200K for 2023-24

Cat Murphy, Associate News Editor

Following a years-long battle between administrators and student organizations, Quinnipiac University raised student organization funding by nearly 30% for the 2023-24 academic year.

According to an April 2 press release from the Student Government Association, the university allocated $875,000 to student organizations for the upcoming academic year, a $200,000 increase from the 2022-23 year.

Jacob Cedor, SGA vice president for operations and a sophomore 3+1 international business major, spearheaded the organization’s initiative to address a recent uptick in funding requests.

“This funding increase, between our current and incoming undergrads, should impact the student experience of more than 20,000 students, just in the next 10 years,” Cedor wrote in a statement to the Chronicle April 10. “The influence this funding will have on making Quinnipiac feel like more of a home for our students is astronomical.”

The university earmarked an additional $200,000 in student organization funding after slashing SGA’s program budget for several consecutive years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infographic by Amanda Riha

Most recently, spring 2023 student organization funding requests topped $550,000. However, a copy of SGA’s spring 2023 budget obtained by the Chronicle revealed that the organization funded less than 52% of all requests due to budget constraints.

Students have repeatedly vocalized their frustrations with the lack of available resources since budget cuts began taking effect in 2021.

“We’ve struggled a lot with limited funding this past semester,” said Emily Diaz, a junior political science major and president of the Quinnipiac Latino Cultural Society. “Student leaders like myself are overworked and burnt out, and it creates sort of an imbalance.”

University administrators blamed the pandemic and lower enrollment numbers for student organization funding cuts as recently as SGA’s State of QUnion address in February 2023.

“A lot of areas were cut during the pandemic in academic and non-academic things,” said Tom Ellett, chief experience officer, at the 2023 State of the QUnion. “We do have 1,400 less students today than we did when the funding was different, and so that has been spread across the whole institution, not just the student orgs.”

However, Ellett told the Chronicle on April 6 that university officials allocated increased funding to student organizations in response to increased spending in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“Clubs and organizations were spending their money, where the previous two years, certainly not as much,” said Ellett, who worked alongside Cedor to develop the SGA program budget.

Cedor and Ellett also collaborated with Monique Drucker, vice president and dean of students, and Matthew Kurz, associate dean of student affairs for campus life and SGA’s adviser.

The question I’ve received the most from students is about what the process looked like to get the funding increase, and the answer is simple – I just had to ask.

— SGA Vice President for Operations Jacob Cedor

“It was a very compelling series of data points that (Cedor) provided in terms of asks that clubs and organizations had,” Ellett said. “We thought that that amount that we provided was where we felt comfortable landing for this upcoming year.”

In the April 2 release, SGA thanked the Quinnipiac administration “for listening to the student needs and responding with this historic increase in funds.”

“Students brought it to the right place, we had a good conversation, some good data points and we move forward,” Ellett said. “We’re just fortunate that we were able to do that.”

Ellett underscored the value of campus engagement, arguing that clubs and organizations enable students to co-create their college experiences.

“I think that the more spirit and connection we can create as an institution, I think the students are happier,” Ellett said. “It also has a sense of creating a sense of belonging for our students to the institution.”

Hillary Haldane, professor of anthropology and faculty senator, reiterated that campus life is an integral element of the student experience.

“You’re not in the classroom for the rest of your life,” Haldane told the Chronicle. “Part of what the co-curricular does is that helps you think about the transferability of that knowledge from the classroom.”

However, Ellett highlighted the limits of university resources.

“It may mean that we don’t do some other things, whatever those other things are,” Ellett said.“I don’t know what they are, but you have a finite amount of money.”

Notably, the Quinnipiac administration is facing criticism from the Quinnipiac American Association of University Professors for failing to adequately adjust faculty salaries to match the increased cost of living.

Quinnipiac student organization leaders nevertheless applauded the university’s renewed commitment to program funding.

“Increased funding allows for students to attend programming, to get involved, to find a path for themselves, to network a little bit and learn about what it is that they’re interested in,” Diaz said. “And so, when we’re given that support and allowed to have representation, we’re empowering one another to keep going.”

Members of the SGA Operations Committee met with representatives from nearly 90 student organizations during the first weekend in April to review their fall 2023 funding proposals, according to the April 2 release. SGA is scheduled to vote on the committee’s fall 2023 budget recommendations April 19.

“The question I’ve received the most from students is about what the process looked like to get the funding increase, and the answer is simple – I just had to ask,” Cedor wrote. “I hope this historic increase in funding helps students realize their true power at a university.”