Sep 232003
Authors: Christiana Nelson

Student organizations have the option of registering their account with the Student Organizations Office; whether they should register can depend on their objectives.

The logistics of having these on-campus accounts may only fit some of the 150 student organizations registered.

Michele Frick, accounting technician III for the Student Organizations Office, said there are some very big advantages for student organizations that have an on-campus account.

“On-campus accounts are the only way that student organizations can get (Associated Students of CSU) funding,” Frick said. “They also get a monthly statement and the office staff helps them balance their books and tries not to let them spend into the red.”

Many student organization leaders register for an on-campus account primarily for the chance to receive additional money from ASCSU funding. Jeff Schomay, a recently graduated film major, is in the process of starting the Juggleum Juggling Club and is planning to register his new organization for an on-campus account.

“We want to be able to get a place to juggle, so that we can be inside,” Schomay said. “The hope is that we can receive funding for equipment for our club because some members don’t have any.”

Organizations receive ASCSU funding by petitioning and presenting their case to the ASCSU Funding Board. If the organization is granted funding it must use the money exactly for what it is granted.

Some organizations find one drawback to having an on-campus account is the money in the organization’s account is considered state money, so state rules and regulations apply to how an organization can spend its money.

“Something students have the biggest problem with is, probably, timelines,” Frick said. “They need to follow state rules and regulations to spend their money. It is not like writing a check; you have to fill out a (Departmental Purchase Order) or an (Intramural Order) to access your money.”

A DPO is a payment voucher the university uses to pay for off-campus services for a student organization. Organization leaders must turn in a Request for Financial Document form to the Student Organizations Office and allow approximately 96 hours for the request to be processed. Then the DPO can be picked up at the office and can be used as a check. Once the organization makes the purchase with the DPO, it returns the receipt or invoice from the purchase to the Student Organizations Office, which will then pay the business.

An IMO is similar to a DPO but is used for on-campus services as a direct payment, thus eliminating the need for receipts and invoices.

Benjamin Carroll, a sophomore equine science major and president of the Model United Nations, is not intimidated by the steps to accessing his organization’s money.

“It is not really restricting,” Carroll said. “You can possibly get higher interest rates on banks off-campus, but there are so many advantages offered (with an on-campus account), especially that the school can write a receipt so that the organization can get a tax write-off.”

President of Liberal Arts College Council, T.C. Ritz, a junior philosophy major, agreed that having funds in an on-campus account is not at all inconvenient.

“There is so much availability and accessibility when accessing funds,” Ritz said. “We went to Copy Rite the other day and just did what we had to do and left, we didn’t have to worry about anything.”

Although many organizations find that having an on-campus account fits their needs, there are organizations that choose not to have an on-campus account.

“There are some student organizations that like to raise money and donate it, but they can’t donate it (with an on-campus account),” Frick said. “Some of the state restrictions say that you can’t buy alcohol, prizes or gifts with the money and there are limits on purchases over $1,000.”

Brian Vencalek, a junior environmental engineering major, is the president of the Environmental Engineering Society, a student organization which has chosen not to keep an on-campus account.

“The majority of our funding comes from the College of Engineering, particularly the civil engineering department, so we hold an account with them,” Vencalek said. “We used to have an account with the university so that we could get ASCSU funding, but they closed our account because the balance was at zero.”

Student organizations focused around political, religious or Greek ideals are not allowed to hold on-campus accounts because of state restrictions, but any other organizations are encouraged to open an on-campus account.

“We know that students are trying to go to school and it’s hard trying to know the rules and regulations of spending money,” Frick said. “We’re here to help; it is easier to ask first than to try to fix it later.”

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