By Graig Graziosi
Students interested in starting their own campus organizations without breaking the bank now have the option to subsidize their startup costs.
The Youngstown State University Student Government Association has set aside $4,000 for use as a start-up fund for new student organizations. Each new organization can receive up to $200 to ease the burden of start-up costs. The funds can be used for recruiting events, food for meetings, labeled merchandise or other expenses aimed at building a new group.
SGA President Ashley Orr saw the start up fund as an immediate need with an immediate solution.
“It was something I identified there was a need for. Research showed other universities — like Kent State — showed when students wanted to start new organizations they could go [to their administration] and get startup funds. So that was a hole I found that we could easily fix,” Orr said.
The $4,000 will be a separate fund from general appropriations — the money SGA uses to fund student organization events — and came largely from SGA administrative funds freed up after a combined $10,000 self-imposed salary cut from Orr and executive vice president Jacob Schriner-Briggs.
“Working with Carrie Anderson we asked her, ‘Historically, how many student organizations start in a year?’ and she said never more than 15 or 20, so we estimated on the high end of potential new student organizations — 20 — and applied the $200 to that which gave us $4,000,” Orr said.
One of those new organizations on campus this year — a non-partisan political problem-solving group called No Labels — has experienced the difficulty of starting a new group from scratch.
Lindsay Heldreth, vice president of No Labels, says the group plans on utilizing the available funds to help recruiting.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is in recruiting new members … We’re working hard to get new members involved. That being said, we plan to utilize the start-up money and plan to buy T-shirts or buttons or anything that we can to help get our name out and make it visible to students on campus,” Heldreth said. “The start-up fund is very, very useful and I hope other student organizations are aware of it.”
Another new service student leaders can utilize is a free student organization bank account through Home Savings & Loan.
“When I was VP for financial affairs I reached out to Home Savings & Loan and expressed to them the difficulty in starting a new student organization … They were incredibly supportive and the [campus Home Savings & Loan employee] I spoke to helped to gain approval from Home Savings & Loan corporate to work with SGA,” Orr said.
After applying for new organization funding, student leaders will receive a letter from the SGA, which they can take to Home Savings & Loan and redeem for a free bank account. The account will include a free $25 deposit and Home Savings & Loan will provide the group’s first checkbook at no additional cost. While the account is open to all new student organizations, they are not required to open the account to receive the $200 start-up funds, which are available now.