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The Ins, Outs, and What-Have-Yous of UPAC

Are you the president of the Penn State Underwater Basketweaving Club, looking to plan a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, but coming up a bit short on cash? No, but actually, if your club needs money to do what it does, you should go talk to the University Park Allocation Committee. We at OS know that asking anyone for money can be a daunting prospect, so I asked UPAC Chair Mark Donovan to help demystify the process.

UPAC’s funding comes from the Student Activity Fee (SAF), which this year is $79 per student (next year it will be $82). Donovan explained that the UPAC’s total from the SAF totals about $3.5 million. That pot not only goes to fund regular occurrences like No Refund Theatre and Movin’ On, but Donovan also said that UPAC funds also go to things you wouldn’t normally think of. “Our gym memberships, HUB LateNight, Distinguished Speaker Series, wages for IM referees, BJC student tickets and travel all around the country are subsidized through UPAC.”

“Any recognized student group in good standing is eligible and encouraged to apply for funding,” said Donovan. That’s a pretty good deal.

The UPAC Chair also has three tips to requesting funding, and about running a student organization in general.

  1. Plan ahead. Penn State is great at a number of things; being efficient and nimble is not one of them. Requests for funding typically must be submitted at least 40 academic days before the program.
  2. Start small. Planning a huge concert or conference sounds impressive but takes a lot of work. By starting small, your group will develop the expertise necessary to execute a large event and over time will allow the club to grow.
  3. It might sound cliché, but have fun. Going on a trip, planning a conference, or any other experience should be enjoyable. Don’t let extracurricular activities generate additional stress.

So there you have it. UPAC allocates on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’d best head over to 229 HUB to get the ball rolling. If you do get down there, you have a very good chance of getting the money you need; at the Student Activity Fee Board meeting, Donovan said that UPAC approves 96.53% of every dollar requested. Those are pretty good odds, even with the impending budget crisis. And though it won’t cover the entire cost of your organization’s activity, they’ll spot you most of it, which is money your org doesn’t have to scare up itself.

About the Author

Dan McCool

Dan is a senior and has been writing for Onward State since January 2010. Did you miss him? Nah, neither did we. He's returning after a semester abroad in England and will be serving as Arts Editor. Favorite things in life include references to The Big Lebowski.

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