The ins-and-outs of SUFAC

Carter Secor, Journalist

When looking at their student bills, many students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater may be confused about what their money pays for. One of these things is SUFAC.

SUFAC, or the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee, is a committee that supplies student organizations on campus with funding to operate. The money that SUFAC uses comes from fees that students pay as part of their tuition. This money can be used by the organizations to go towards things like hiring speakers to recouping some travel expenses like gas or hotel rooms and many other things.

There is a process that organizations have to go through to get funding. Chair Erica Schaefer has been working for SUFAC for years to make sure they are properly funded, and explained how the application process for funding works.

“The approval process for funding of student organizations starts with the student organization making a budget request to SUFAC during the application process,” said Schaefer. “After a request is submitted, the organization will set up a hearing in which they will be allowed to present their budget to the committee, and the committee will be able to ask questions to the student organization. Then SUFAC goes through all the budget requests and makes recommendations on these requests.”

According to Schaefer, SUFAC sends these recommendations to Whitewater Student Government (WSG), which has the power to adjust SUFAC’s recommendations and approve them. After WSG approves the budget, it then goes to Chancellor Dwight Watson and then onto the Board of Regents for final approval.

For the committee, this process may seem straightforward, but it is a painstakingly deliberate and thorough process. For each of the over 200 student organizations on campus, SUFAC goes through a hearing and deliberation process to determine the amount of funds each organization will get.

“SUFAC goes in and they sit down individually with the organizations,” said Ben Larson, the one-year WSG representative for SUFAC. “It’s a 20 minute session where we talk about their organization and what they do, and their purpose and what they plan to use the money for. Then, we go line item by line item with the student organization and they tell us what they plan to use this for. After the hearings are done the committee sits down and deliberates. In these deliberations we talk about the budget that was presented and stick with our guidelines.”

While the money coming from students through fees may seem small in terms of each student, SUFAC helps student organizations on campus operate and essentially stay alive. Without these funds, many organizations would not be able to do all of the interesting and unique things that set them apart from each other.

“It is absolutely crucial for organizations to receive SUFAC funding,” said Alissa Mautz, a senator for WSG. “We have a lot of incredible student organizations on this campus who provide great opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. SUFAC makes all of that possible.”