Originally published in the Central Florida Future: http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/news/group-juggles-with-registration-struggles-1.2651332?pagereq=1
With more than 400 registered student organizations, students atUCF have little trouble finding a club to identify with. Unfortunately for the leaders of these organizations, the process of actually becoming an RSO is not always as easy.
Aerospace Engineering major Thomas Barrett has experienced that difficulty firsthand.
Barrett is the leader of the unregistered organization Objects in Motion, a coalition of nearly 100 students who together teach, learn and perform a variety of juggling tricks. OIM, an offshoot ofUCF’s dissolved Juggling Club, began seeking registration in February.
Barrett said he’s frustrated with the lack of communication fromRSO Coordinator Matthew Betz.
“I can understand it’s time consuming, and it probably can be attributed to just a high volume of work and not a very efficient system to deal with that influx, but I can only make guesses,” Barrett said. “I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there’s just no communication.”
According to getinvolveducf.com, the process of becoming anRSO should be swift.
According to Betz, all RSO hopefuls are welcome into his office to voice any of their concerns. In order to ensure swift registration, he even provides the leaders of the unregistered organizations with a template to follow when writing their constitution. As an effort to repress any delays, he tries to sit down with all of the leaders and inform them on what steps they should be taking and how to appropriately fill out the paperwork.
Barrett’s group members blame him for not being an official club. Hoping to find answers and attempting to maintain his role in the organization, he has gone to Betz’s office three times this semester.
“I don’t want to keep going in there and bothering him. I don’t want him to put us farther down on his list because he thinks we’re annoying,” Barrett said.
Not everyone’s experiences with Betz have been as daunting.
Diana Galvin, vice president of Anime Spot, said that, like Barrett, she hasn’t always received essential emails fromBetz. However, whenever she does seek his help, Betz generally replies hastily.
“He’s been nothing but helpful,” Galvin said. “He’s definitely one of the easier people to work with.”
Although Galvin wasn’t a UCF student when Anime Spot was first registered, she has participated in thereregistration process for two years. Every semester, an RSO must submit an Update Form to OSI that notes significant changes, like updated contact information, changes in officers and the number of active UCF members. Galvin finds the reregistration process to be a breeze.
“Organizations get free money for filling out a few pieces of paper. The process is definitely worthwhile,” Galvin said.
Although most RSOs are self-funded, one of the perks of being registered is the ability to request money from SGA.
Betz said that 25 percent of RSOs apply for funding for various events. Galvin and Anime Spot’s 250 members rely on those funds for their annual Murder Mystery Night event.
SGA funding and the privilege of holding on-campus events are just two reasons why Barrett seeks OIM’sregistration. After scouring the entire campus for a shady area to perform his juggling, he’s found a temporary home in front of the UCF bookstore — now dubbed the “Juggler’s Green.”
As stated in the Golden Rule Student Handbook, in order to become an RSO at UCF’s main campus, an organization must have at least 12 members. Once that criteria is met, the leaders can submit the organization’s constitution. The constitution must include an array of information from basic details like the group’s name, mission and goals, to more elaborate specifications, like a description of the group’s election process.
Once the organization’s constitution has been approved by both OSI and SGA, the group can finally be considered “registered” — a process Michael Preston, OSI director, said takes about four to six weeks.
After 13 years of experience as the director of student affairs at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, Preston believes thatOSI’s offerings are inimitable.
“I’ve been working in education for 15 years, and this is easily the most generous university in terms of providing resources and services for organizations,” Preston said.
Barrett agrees with Preston and is convinced that his organization will continue to flourish once registered.
“We have so much inertia that we’re just going to explode,” Barrett said.