Where Funding Comes From, How it is Used

For many mentor groups across the 5Cs, obtaining proper funding is a constant process and a continual discussion point.

Many clubs and organizations receive funding from the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) office, which distributes student fees from all of the schools except Claremont McKenna College.  The total allotment each group receives varies from year to year, with funding based on student participation, as well as the unique needs of each organization. This year the total budget was around $80,000. 

“To get funding for a student run-mentor program, [the program] first needs to be registered as a student organization with the SCC office (for Pomona) and then can apply to ASPC (or any 5C student government that they have members from) for funding,” Ellie Ash-Balá, Associate Director of the Smith Campus Center (SCC) and Student Programs, wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “Each student government can provide funding based on numbers of their students participating in the program. If the mentor program is run by a college department, then that program has college funding provided for it.”

“The goal is to be equitable and consistent in providing funds to each group,” Ash-Balá wrote. She added that most student-run organizations at Pomona College do not struggle to obtain funding from the student government or academic departments. 

On the other hand, institutionally-funded organizations and groups tend to receive more funding than student-run organizations. For example, the annual programming budget of the Queer Resource Center (QRC), which excludes wages and salaries of the staff members, falls at around $14,000. In 2009, the QRC was a Pomona organization funded by ASPC with an annual budget of $4,700. At the end of 2010, the QRC became a 7C institutionally-funded resource center with Pomona acting as the lead college. Currently, there are 12 staff members, two of whom are the Queer, Questioning, and Allied Mentor Program (QQAMP) head mentors, Jonathan Williams HM ‘14, and Denys Reyes CM ’15. There are also two professional full-time staff members, Adriana di Bartolo, the QRC director, and Ebony Williams, the program coordinator, as well as a graduate assistant from Claremont Graduate University, April Frykenberg. The QRC is the umbrella organization over four project teams, including QQAMP. 

QQAMP is a mentorship program where mentees can obtain resources for any struggles that they may encounter in mental health, coming out, or gender identification. Although funded by the QRC, QQAMP can be considered a separate student-run mentor program. Previously funded by ASPC, QQAMP became funded by the QRC when the resource center became an institutional center. According to Williams and Reyes, QQAMP’s budget falls around $5,500 this year.

“In order to promote intersectionality, we hold co-sponsorship events that bring together communities under the mutual goal of doing social justice work,” di Bartolo said. “We want to promote ally-ship and the participation of various groups and academic departments on campus.” Co-sponsorship events also help reduce the costs of putting on an event.

“[The QRC] host events with other organizations as long as they hold true to our mission,” a QRC member who wished to remain anonymous said.

Unlike the QRC, the Asian-American resources on the 5Cs are not united under a single 7C organization; several of the campuses have their own, distinct programs. At Pomona, the Asian-American Mentoring Program (AAMP) received about the same amount of funding as QQAMP. 

“Much of [AAMP’s budget] goes to training mentors the two weeks before school starts. We also use our budget for our spring retreat … programming, and AAMP snack,” Sophie Wang PO ’16 wrote in an email to TSL. AAMP’s primary funding comes from the Asian-American Resource Center (AARC), but the group also draws funding from ASPC and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. 

She went on to write that many AAMP events are cosponsored by “other campus organizations whose missions are supported by the nature of the specific event. AAMP also helps cosponsor events held by other 5C organizations.  The Asian American Advisory Board (Adboard), a 5C organization, also supports AAMP and the other API mentor/sponsor programs, specifically for 5C events and program retreats. We do not, however, pool budgets with any other organizations.”

At Pitzer College, the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS) is a similar organization to the AARC. Unlike the AARC, which has had a long history of institutional funding, CAPAS was established in 2001 to address students’ needs for an Asian American space, and was staffed by work-study students. In 2002, CAPAS was funded by a two-year Irvine Diversity Grant. Currently, CAPAS is funded through Pitzer under the Office of Student Affairs. 

“The annual budget is around $8,000,” director of CAPAS Linda Lam said. 

A similar mentoring program to AAMP, the Asian-Pacific American Coalition (APAC) at Pitzer is funded though the student senate.

In contrast, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), another 5C student-run group, is largely privately funded. 

“We have the support of two chaplains, Daveen Litwin and Brad Tharpe,” Leyth Swidan PO ‘16, co-president of MSA, said. “Most funds come from private sources and community members. People who graduate [also] continuously donate.” 

According to Swidan, funding has not been short due to generous donations, which range anywhere from $100 per school (HMC) to $500 per school (CMC/PO). Although the MSA does not collaborate often on events with other student organizations, “we are looking into hosting to hosting events with J Street U, Arabic Club, and other clubs that focus on Muslim communities,” Swidan added.

The McAlister Center often shares costs associated with major events and the necessary purchase of religious materials, such as prayer rugs.  

“For smaller events, we normally don’t need the extra support. But for larger celebrations, such as our annual Eid celebration held on November 1st, we plan, and hope, on collaborating with the Middle Eastern Studies Department at Pomona, the Arabic Department at CMC, the Arabic Club and possibly Bayan Claremont,” Swidan said. In addition to larger programming events, the group hosts prayers every Friday at the McAlister Center, an event that is open to all Claremont community members.

Although many groups on campus are well funded and have sufficient budgets, others feel they would better be able to provide for the students they aim to serve with additional funding.

“It is hard to carry out projects, be reimbursed, or even host events when money is an issue here at the Claremont Colleges,” wrote Sergio Rodriguez PO ’16, co-president of Quest Scholars of the Claremont Colleges, in an e-mail to TSL. “Another challenge is not having enough funds to include all Quest Scholars in different outings/events. For example, we are taking some Quest Scholars to explore Los Angeles this fall break. However, there is so much interest but we have limited funding, which limits us as to how many people we can actually take.”

Although most organizations seem to be satisfied with their budget, each college’s student government may need to assess the specific needs of groups on campus and accommodate changing needs over time.

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