OCCC clubs note problems, successes with guidelines

clubquoteStudent Life Coordinator Kendra Fringer said when designing OCCC’s club manual over the summer, she researched what other area two-year state colleges were doing in relation to their on-campus clubs.

In addition, she said, Student Life had full- and part-time faculty look over the material from a sponsor’s standpoint. Fringer said she also gave the manual to student leaders to see if the requirements were functional.

“We asked students across the board with varying schedules and life responsibilities whether or not these things are functional,” she said.

Fringer said Student Life received feedback that students were comfortable with the expectations.

Still, several students say they are experiencing difficulties with club guidelines. One of the main areas where that seems to be happening is with event scheduling.

According to the club manual, large event requests — which include events with special speakers and banquets — must be submitted eight weeks prior to the event.

Small event requests must be submitted two weeks prior to the event and two to four weeks must be allowed for purchase orders to be generated.

One club member, who asked to remain anonymous, said planning things that far in advance is difficult.

“At the same time that you’re hosting or you have an event coming up in a couple of days, you have to be ready to start submitting for an event you’re going to have in a month,” he said.

The club member said he also had dealt with misinformation, repeatedly lost paperwork and confusing rules since the beginning of the semester.

“It’s very stressful because we’re also students in college,” the member said. “I can safely say that as of now, I’ve definitely spent more time dealing with Student Life than dealing with homework.”

Fringer said Student Life follows OCCC policy regarding travel, reimbursement and purchasing requests, so it may take time for those requests to be completed.

“Those are policies and procedures put in place by the institution, not Student Life,” she said. “We just fulfill and follow those.”

Baptist Collegiate Ministry President Andrew Pierce said his club hasn’t experienced the same issues. However, he said, to expedite matters, BCM did send their fall meeting schedule to Student Life during the summer.

Pierce said in other matters, such as providing supplies, making room reservations and setting up tables, Student Life has done a good job.

Christians on Campus club sponsor James Kennedy said his club has had only one issue with Student Life so far this semester. Kennedy said when BCM planned an event in conjunction with the University of Oklahoma Christians on Campus at the beginning of the semester, some BCM members were not able to attend due to a mandatory Fall Leadership Workshop meeting at OCCC.

“We had a competing event and there was nothing we could do about it, though we had this thing planned for months,” he said. “It’s challenging, but that being said, you realize you’re going to be a club on a college campus and they provide some resources. They also provide money so there are certain requirements that should be met.”

One of those requirements is that a club representative must attend most of the monthly TLC (The Leadership Council) meetings to receive funding from Student Life of $250 a semester.

Pierce said he thinks the funding is a good thing to get in return for voting on campus issues at TLC meetings.

“We’re really [grateful] about the money that they give us that allow us to put on free lunches,” he said.

Oklahoma Biotechnology Association President Thi Lam said she also appreciates Student Life’s help with fundraising and event planning. She said though they made no requests for additional funds, Student Life provided the club $2,000 — an addition to the club’s fundraising efforts — that will allow eight OBA members to attend a cell biology conference in San Diego soon.

She said Student Life has also accommodated several last-minute requests and always responds to the club quickly. Lam said OBA has had the most trouble with the TLC meeting requirements.

As a club of only 15 people, she said, it’s difficult to make it to mandatory meetings every two weeks.

“We’re always having trouble trying to get on top of them, getting someone to go, especially since our club is so small,” she said. “We had to miss one and we thought, ‘Great — are we going to be in trouble?’”

Health Professions Club President Caleb Hill said his club has had no problems planning events and attending TLC meetings. The club is comprised of nearly 100 students and has a TLC representative who attends all the meetings, Hill said.

Student Life Director Erin Logan said TLC meeting requirements were set years ago by former Enrollment and Student Services Vice President Marion Paden. She said TLC was designed to get a broad range of student voices.

According to the OCCC Club and Organization Manual, clubs that miss two or more of The Leadership Council meetings will not be granted funding the following semester.

For comparison, Rose State College has a governing student body, called the Student Senate, which is similar to OCCC’s Leadership Council. The senate is an elected board, while OCCC’s council is a mandatory group of club representatives.

One club member, who asked to not be named, said the expectations and timelines for club requests have been accurate so far.

He said it would be a nightmare to try to navigate through all the guidelines and higher authorities without Student Life.

“They help in the sense that there is one place for us to go,” he said. “Student Life, they speak on our behalf and try to make sure we keep getting money.”

Clubs receive $250 each semester but can request additional funds for travel or special event speakers, Logan said.

She said the only additional task OCCC clubs are required to do is turn in an accountability report at the end of the semester to list how their club money has been spent.

Logan said that requirement is in place because Student Life is being held accountable by the college for every dollar spent.

“We didn’t really change any of the rules,” Logan said. “The rules are all the same — we’ve just organized them a bit differently.

“We need to be able to show that the clubs deserve the amount of money we’re giving them and that we should continue to get funded to provide clubs that money.”

For more information about Student Life, clubs and organizations, visit www.occc.edu/studentlife/index.html.

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