SRO: More Like SR-NO

From November of 2018 until early February of 2019 Student
Senate introduced a new process for clubs to go through in order to receive
funding for the upcoming academic year. Almost all clubs were affected on
campus, including one that was not contacted and unable to request funding.

So what exactly is an SRO? An SRO is a Student Run
Organization. This replaces the term of clubs on campus and an organization
that still categorizes themselves as a club they are unable to receive funding
from GAF or Senate. There are a number of requirements necessary to be
considered an SRO:

  • Be open to all students.
  • Have an executive board comprised of students
    and elected by the active members.
  • Have at least ten (10) active student members.
  • Active members shall be defined in each SRO’s
    constitution.
  • Present to the Senate once a year at a regular
    Senate session before February of that school year.
  • Have an up to date constitution on file with the
    Senate.
  • Submit a yearly financial report to the SRO
    Audit Committee.
  • Follow Dakota State University Policy.
  • Report a list of active members to the SRO Audit
    Committee by February.
  • Work with the SRO Audit Committee and Public
    Relations Chair to keep information about the SRO updated on the DSU and Senate
    website.

If a club meets all of these requirements, they still had the task of meeting all of the deadlines set or risk losing funding for the next year. This year the process was put into motion at the beginning of November for the clubs. An email was sent to all known presidents of clubs informing them of the process and everything they needed to complete within the deadlines. On top of meeting all the requirements, the clubs needed to complete all documentation and have it approved by Student Senate before February 1st. The steps necessary to complete the SRO process:

  • Send your information for the DSU website to (sa-sro.audit@dsu.edu) including club name, description of your club and what you do, meeting time and place, advisor’s name and email, (Optional) website or another means of contact
  • Submit your SRO Application to Student Senate.
  • Have your SRO Application approved by senate within 24 hours of submission.
  • Submit your new SRO Constitution (A template constitution was sent out when the application was approved).
  • Have your new SRO Constitution approved by SRO Funding Committee (Senate sent an email notification about approval).
  • Have your New SRO Constitution approved by YOUR club (a ⅔ vote of the active members).
  • Email sa-sro.audit@dsu.edu that your club has approved your Constitution.
  • Get approved by Student Senate (SRO Audit Committee emailed informing clubs of the date of their approval. Senate would approve the SRO status at the club presentation).
  • Present About Your Club at a Student Senate Meeting (Presentation had to be completed at a Senate meeting by February 1st.)
  • Submit a list of this year’s active members to sa-sro.audit@dsu.edu (using Active Member definition in your SRO Constitution.)
  • Submit a financial report to sa-sro.audit@dsu.edu (Documents were sent to clubs, they needed to fill in their budget information and present to Senate their proposed budget.)

All of this, not including the financial report, had to
completed by February 1st. This left most of the organizations three
months to complete the process. Winter break was also included within this time
frame, limiting the amount of time to two months. In speaking with presidents
and officers of a few of these organizations there were mixed feelings
regarding the changes.

This time frame did cause some strain on a few of the club
officers who went through it. Gabriel Simao, co-president of the International
Club said “This is still a lot of work for a student to go through. Clubs were
not supposed to be the priority instead of classes, but it was for me during a
month just to make sure my club would have a chance to get budget for next
year.”

There was also a lack of communication between Student Senate and the officers of clubs. Albert Pavlinac, the Treasurer of the Film Club believed that difficulties that arose in the process could have been cleared up with communication. “I think the difficulties that have formed could easily be subsided by communicating more with the clubs. There have been other officer’s from different clubs that have talked with me about the SRO Process because the information either wasn’t clear enough or just wasn’t said in the first place.”

The lack of communication and time constraints made it
difficult for the clubs who had started the process with the needed
requirements. There were some clubs who had to meet the requirements before
applying and others who had to change some key aspects within their clubs to
qualify.

Marissa Guillory is president of The Alliance, The DSU Art
Club, and co-president of AAUW. She is also a member of Student Senate and
served on the SRO Funding Committee. None of the questions she answered serve
as a reflection of Student Senate, or the SRO Committee. All questions were
answered as a club president who went through the process.

Marissa commented that the process caused her to reevaluate
how her clubs were organized, “For The Alliance we had to fight for our right
to define our membership in a way that best suited the club.”

There was belief amongst most of the officers that it did
create some organization within clubs, however. “It somewhat brought more
organization for the international club,” Simao.

Guillory stood by the process and believed that it helped
hold clubs accountable on campus. “The new process brings much needed
organization and accountability to student organizations and the people
overseeing their creation and funding.”

Considering all of the factors it does seem possible that
the process can be improved upon. Having a larger time frame, and clearer
communication would help to benefit the clubs and the process. Although the SRO
process is likely here to stay we can hope that it will get better with time.

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