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Student Organization Funding Guidelines

General Guidelines
Student organizations play a critical role in building community and enhancing the educational experience. The Office of Student Life, in an effort to ensure that the limited funds for student organization activities are allocated in a fair and equitable manner, accepts funding requests from student organizations in the early part of each academic year. Student organization events that receive financial support from Student Life must be open to all law students. Activities that offer the greatest benefit to the overall Law School community will receive the highest priority. The Assistant Dean and Sarah Zearfoss, Senior Assistant Dean, determines funding allocations.

To be eligible to receive funds from the Office of Student Life, student organizations must be officially recognized by LSSS, registered with the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, and have a valid SOAS account.

Because funding is limited, it is impossible to fully fund each request. Over the years, a set of criteria has been developed for the award of funds. Generally, the Office's budget is reserved to support activities that could not go forward without the funding. General categories of such activities include speaker events open to the entire Law School community, moot court competitions, community service projects, activities likely to enhance the educational experience of members of the student organization and/or a fairly significant sector of the Law School community, activities which provide opportunities for students to develop professional skills, unusual opportunities to learn more about the profession, and activities which promote a greater interaction, in a professional context, among members of different Law School organizations or with alumni.

Other considerations include the size of the organization, its total anticipated budget for the academic year, amount of carry-over funds from the previous year, and the LSSS allocation for the year at issue. Given the limited funding, money for food, honoraria, recreational activities, and travel have become increasingly limited. None of the allocated funds may be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.

Once allocations have been determined, funds are transferred into the organization's SOAS account, usually within 10 business days. Students are reimbursed for their expenses through the SOAS account. For further guidance on reimbursements, students should consult the SOAS guidelines.

For any given academic year, no student organization may receive funding from the Law School unless at least two of the organization's members become certified alcohol hosts by October 15 of the academic year in which funding is requested by the student organization. Though such a requirement may seem counterintuitive, given that University funds may not be used to purchase alcohol, this requirement serves the more general goal of ensuring that student organizations are apprised of the Law School's alcohol policy. This requirement also seeks to ensure an adequate pool of certified hosts in any given academic year.

Funding Areas
Educational Programming - Funding preference will be given to panels and speaker events that further legal education outside the classroom, help students make informed decisions about career choices, and provide opportunities for students to share aspects of their culture and life experience with the Law School community. Social mixers and networking programs will receive financial support on a limited basis.

Competitions - Law School moot court teams are eligible for financial assistance for registration fees, and reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. Competitors are required to report the results of the competition to the Office of Student Life.

Student Travel - Limited funds are available for reasonable travel expenses to conferences, national meetings, and special events. Students are expected to seek supplemental support and sponsorship from other sources.

Registration Fees - Limited funds are available for registration fees associated with conferences, retreats, etc. Student participants are required to share what they learn with their respective organizations and the Law School community.

Speaker Expenses - Depending of availability, funds may be available for reasonable travel, accommodation, and meal expenses incurred by out-of-town speakers. Funds may not be used for speaker honoraria and/or gifts.

Organizational Meetings/Food/Alcohol - Depending on availability, funds may be awarded for expenses related to organizational recruitment meetings. Limited Funds may also be available for reasonable expenses related to lunch events. Per the Law School's Alcohol Policy, University funds may not be used directly or indirectly for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. Funds raised by student organizations may be used to defray the cost of hosting events where alcoholic beverages are served.

Funding request procedures
Organizations that wish to receive full consideration for funding from the Office of Student Life must complete the online funding request form by the designated deadline each fall term.

Important Deadlines
Early Funding Deadline - August 15 - Funding requests are limited to events and activities that occur prior to October 1st. All funds awarded during this cycle are taken into account during the academic year budgeting process.

Academic Year Funding Deadline - The deadline for submitting funding requests is set by the Law School Student Senate, and is usually in late September. Funding requests for participation in moot court competitions are also considered at this time. Each group that plans on asking for funding from LSSS and the Office of Student Life must attend the student organization kick-off meeting early in the fall semester.

Requests submitted after the academic year funding deadline are permitted. Funding will be limited and based on availability.