Cultural groups see sizeable recommendations drop

Angela Tablac

Student Activities Finance Board’s recommended funding for cultural groups on campus fell about $100,000 from last year’s allocations — the biggest plummet for all student group categories.

But cultural group leaders said they understand the cuts came because of decreased funding availability, and some said they anticipated the loss even before the numbers were released last Wednesday.

Campus cultural groups represent the largest number of A-status student groups, compared to performing arts, Greek, community service and political organizations. Out of a $775,600 pool, SAFB recommended cultural groups receive about $244,000.

Latino student group Alianza anticipated a funding cut, said co-president Alysa Handelsman. Alianza requested about $45,300 and was recommended about $25,600. Handelsman said the group was disappointed but realized the reality of a decreased pool.

Alianza received funding for Fall Quarter’s Festival LatiNU and the annual Spring Comedy Beatdown, but none for a fall speaker, spring film festival and Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Handelsman, a Weinberg sophomore, said the group still wants to work on Cinco de Mayo, and Alianza will appeal on Wednesday for supplemental funding. The organization also receives some money from fund raising and Northwestern’s Office of Hispanic/Latino Student Services. But the funding cut will challenge Alianza to brainstorm funding options, Handelsman said.

Korean American Student Association saw a substantial decrease from what it requested. The group asked for about $39,600, but SAFB allocated less than $3,000. Planned programming included a Fall Quarter culture show and spring speaker, but the funding was denied.

KASA Treasurer Tim Chang said the group is not disappointed with the recommendation and thought SAFB gave it more of a chance this year.

“Even though they didn’t give us a lot of money, I think that’s going to make us work harder,” he said.

Chang, a Weinberg freshman, said the group receives funding through donations, fund raising and the Multicultural Center.

Other groups saw even larger discrepancies between requested and recommended funds. One Step Before, a premedical society, asked for about $40,000, but its entire request was denied. Brittany Osborne, incoming president of OSB and a Weinberg sophomore, said she was disappointed but understood the budget was tight.

“We intend to bring the same speakers as we had on our petition,” said Osborne. “We will just fund them in a different way.”

Osborne said the group petitioned for funding for a winter speaker. The group plans on exploring different options, including appealing the recommendation and possible co-sponsorships, said Osborne, adding that OSB also plans to apply for supplemental funding in the fall.

But some groups came close to what they requested. Thai Club saw only $4 less than what it wanted, receiving a recommendation of $3,685. Judy Suwatanapongched, incoming Thai Club president, said the group felt “lucky” and “happy” with the recommendation.

“I was really surprised so many groups did not get funding,” she said. “We were all really surprised … especially after seeing all of the (other groups).”

Thai Club requested money to fund its fall Asian Rock Night concert and its Spring Quarter Thai Night. Suwatanapongched, a Weinberg junior, said she thought the group’s detailed funding petition contributed to getting its request.

“We believe we can plan good programming, and we put the money to good use,” said Suwatanapongched.

The Daily’s Kirsten Hertz contributed to this story.