Saturday, May 25

Cultural Affairs office forced to close off mini-fund for winter


An increase in student groups applying for funding for cultural events has drained the quarter's allocations

The Cultural Affairs mini-fund is closed for the winter quarter due to the lack of funds, Cultural Affairs Commissioner George Chacon said at the undergraduate student government meeting last week.

This year, Associated Students UCLA allocated $149,000 to entertainment fees that were divided between the Campus Event Commission and the Cultural Affairs Commission, Chacon said.

At the beginning of each year, the Cultural Affairs commissioner decides how much of the commission’s entertainment fees to allocate to the mini-fund.

“Originally I had set aside $15,000 for the year (for the mini-fund), following a loose allocation of $5,000 per quarter,” Chacon said.

The quarter’s premature closing of the mini-fund can be attributed to two main causes, Chacon added.

Along with an increase in the number of applicants for funding during winter quarter, the need for money to pay the essentials for any program, such as facility costs, increased as well.

“We closed the fund to help save money for next quarter and to stop more organizations from applying,” Chacon said.

Winter quarter saw a substantial increase in the number of groups applying for finances from the mini-fund.

“We had many groups that normally hold events in the spring, apply for funding in the winter,” Chacon said.

Because of the increased number of groups that applied this quarter, the suggested quarterly allocation was exceeded.

“To help support many programs that strive for cultural diversity and awareness within the UCLA campus, we decided to allocate more than the suggested $5,000,” Chacon said.

The rise in facility costs is always an issue groups face when requesting funds for a particular cultural event.

“It’s difficult for many of the groups applying to have to make decisions about sacrificing the quality of their events for the sake of affording the facilities costs,” said Bernice Shaw, last year’s Cultural Affairs commissioner.

Funds are available to all registered student groups on campus.

To qualify for funding from the mini-fund, groups must show that their events are cultural in nature and promote cultural diversity and cultural awareness within the UCLA campus, Chacon said.

The high demand for the funds challenges the Cultural Affair commissioner every year.

“Last year we did not close our fund at any point, but the money is always tight with the (mini-fund) since it’s supposed to serve as an emergency, last-resort and need-based fund,” Shaw said.

Shaw’s office took steps to avoid having to close the mini-fund.

“Last year, we definitely received a large number of applicants, but we put a cap on the total amount of money we would allocate per application ““ this ensured the sustainability of the fund for the year,” Shaw said.

The Cultural Affairs commissioner’s office is still waiting for groups to use money already allocated to them.

“After all the groups who have been given funds claim them, I am looking to document all expenses and balance the budget before spring quarter,” Chacon said.

Groups that might still need funding for the winter quarter can apply for the Academic Success Referendum Fund, which is still open for both winter and spring quarters.

“If groups can make a valid argument as to how their cultural event supplements education, they can apply to the referendum fund,” said Academic Affairs Commissioner Jeremiah Garcia.

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