Faith and money

Mari Muzzi

      There are over 50 religious clubs on campus and like other organizations some seek funding from student government. Many are active and some have events that bring in a crowd.      

     This year about 500 students attended the fast-a-thon Chinese dinner to break the fast for Ramadan, said Muslim student center treasurer, Najia Hamid. Then there is Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship where on Wednesday nights anywhere from 15 to 40 students gather for bible study and socializing, according to campus pastor Garry Miller. Both of these clubs receive SG funding.

      The amount given depends on the activity level of the club, said Hamid. They receive a little over $1,000 each year and the money is used for events that are open to the entire student body.

      “Anyone is welcome to come to any event,” said Hamid.

      Chi Alpha receives about $1,400 a year. They use the funding for events like One Voice, where all the Christians groups on campus come together. This event is also open to the entire student body. Their bible studies on Wednesday nights are pretty popular, according to Miller.

      “We want to reach out and help those who don’t know Jesus,” Miller said. Often many students come to their events that have never been to a church and are not Christian at all, said Miller.

      Not all religious clubs get funds from SG. The Baha’i club receives its funding from the Baha community in Tampa.

      “I’m not sure why, we just never have look into that,” said member Leslie Martinez when asked about receiving SG funds. They are an active club that has fellowship meetings on Monday nights and anyone who is interested in learning more about the Baha faith is welcome, said Martinez.

      Clubs that seek money from SG must follow certain requirements. The funds cannot be used for snacks at a bible study off campus, said Kelly Foyle, the treasurer at the Catholic Student Center.

      “The money has to be used for events that will benefit all students on campus,” said Foyle. An off campus bible study would not be open to students without vehicles. The Catholic Student Center normally receives funds from SG; this year members forgot to turn in the fund request form. However, the club can still receive funds and they just have to send in a different form when money is needed.

      The requirements are that clubs hold popular elections, and this is one guideline that the president of the Jewish student union had a problem with. The Jewish student union chose not to receive funding from SG; instead they get aid from the community.

      “It was all about a popularity test, not who was the most qualified,” said Jewish student union president Nicky Spivak about the use of popular elections for officer positions. They were only receiving $500 a year, so they decided that they would be better off without it, he said.

      “Religious clubs are just like any other club on campus; they have to follow the same guidelines when requesting funding,” said Juan Soltero, committee chairman of interim funding. His job is to look over all requests forms and decide if a club gets funding.

      The amount given depends on many different factors, such as the size of the club, its activity level and how long it has been on campus, said Soltero. All money coming from SG must be used for events that will benefit all students, he added.

      Usually, SG doesn’t provide funding for off campus events-unless it is a leadership workshop, but the club has to prove how sending a few students would impact the entire student body, said student body president Garvin Flowers.  


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