HAPPY. denied full funding

ASA budget deficit complicates student group finance

Augustana Student Association budget constraints halted the full funding of HAPPY., a student organization offering free menstrual products for women on campus.

In mid-October, co-founder Manaal Ali filed a $2,000 community development fund (CDF) request to restock HAPPY.’s low supply levels of pads and tampons located in select campus bathrooms. In addition, the funding request included an allocation for wall-mounted dispensers, display boxes, menstrual guides, period packs and diva cups.

However, ASA was only able to allocate partial funding of $1,200 after starting the year with a $1,873 deficit from the 2017-2018 administration.

The partial funding covers the pads, tampons and new display boxes.

“We knew that [the CDF budget] was significantly less than last year’s,” ASA treasurer Darwin Garcia said. “So we knew that was going to be tight.”

Ali said that while dispensers would have made products easier to fill in women’s restrooms and period packs could have fostered growth of HAPPY. as an organization, the funding provides campus another year’s worth of menstrual products.

“A lot of women, because of periods, won’t go to classes,” Ali said. “It’s important to have something provided for females to help lift them up [and] to help them be okay with their surroundings. In the end, they will help create a better Augustana, a better community and a better economy.”

Ali said funding for period products will be a continuing need as long as the organization continues to operate on campus.

In the future, she hopes that HAPPY. will be admitted to the ASA constitution, an action that would guarantee yearly funding.

ASA President Anna Stritecky said clubs can only apply for constitution status during the spring semester and must show both a recurring need for funding and an ‘insurance of leadership.”

Currently, ASA only allocates annual funds to the Viking Days Committee, SKOL and UBG through the constitution. All other clubs must apply for funding on a case-by-case basis.

“I would like ASA to take [HAPPY.] as something that’s important enough to be next to groups that aren’t providing basic human needs,” Ali said.

Ali said that despite not receiving the full funding request, HAPPY. still plans to expand its efforts to stock every on-campus, gender-neutral and women’s restroom with menstrual products.

“Even though we’re restricted, we’re still looking to help student organizations in the best way possible,” Garcia said. “Even though they’re not getting the full request, we’re doing what we can to still support them.”

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