R Kelly famously said, “Money makes the world go round.” That lyric rings true for almost everything, especially the happenings of Boston College. For the over 200 clubs and organizations on BC’s campus, the men and women that are behind the money belong to the Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC). This organization votes on the distribution of funds, funding anything from guest speakers to Showdown costumes.
Every year, a part of every BC student's tuition goes towards student activities. Pooling this all together, the SOFC receives $640,000 of tuition money each year, available to disperse among approved BC clubs and organizations.
The SOFC was formed in 1997 to ensure an equitable system of funding for student organizations on BC’s campus. The SOFC is a separate and distinct organization from the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, operating under its own constitution and bylaws.
“As part of the committee, I am getting the opportunity to learn about policy creation, its effects on the organizations, as well as negotiation and communication skills,” says SOFC representative Mariah Larwood, CSOM ’18. “I have also been able to take part in leadership roles and meet a lot of people at BC I might not have otherwise because of my contact with my club treasurers and members of administration.”
Every SOFC committee member gets ten clubs to oversee and keep in contact with. Committee members are in charge of helping the treasurers of their respective clubs and communicating with those clubs on how to be strategic in making a good budget.
About a week and a half before each semester starts, clubs must submit their budgets for the semester. Over the course of two to three days the SOFC representatives review their clubs’ budgets and communicate with the treasures of their respective clubs about issues or slight problems in the budgets.
The SOFC then comes back to campus one week early to review all of the budgets as a committee. At the completion of that week, all of the clubs find out the initial funding they received. The clubs then have the option to appeal for the funding they did not receive throughout the course of the semester. They can appeal during SOFC’s weekly meetings every Friday afternoon.
For an organization to receive funding, the club must be in good standing with the Office of Student Involvement, including member training, completed forms, and a mandatory treasurer training done by OSI.
“The hardest part of being a member of the SOFC is definitely deciding how to fund clubs,” explains SOFC Chair Jacob Keeley, CSOM ’17. While events across campus are exciting and unique, ultimately, there is a limited fund. “We consult our guidelines that all clubs receive in the beginning of the year and fund each club consistently and fairly as possible.”
Larwood, who found out about the club at the involvement fair of her freshman year says that the major draw to SOFC is getting to learn about BC’s 200-plus student organizations. “I love knowing what's going on around campus, what kind of initiatives students are driving forward, and seeing the creativity of BC's student body.”
While the club has been around for almost 20 years, Keeley explains there is always room for improvement. Keeley says that the long-term goals of SOFC are to become, “a more well known, diversified, and transparent funding organization.”
The SOFC invites freshmen and sophomores to apply in the fall semester, and each committee member is expected to be apart of the organization for five semesters: one semester as a mentee learning the ropes of the club, and then transitioning to four semesters on the voting panel.