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There is still more than $12,000 left in the UA Contingency Fund for student groups to use for special events during this school-year.

The Undergraduate Assembly is encouraging applications to its last-resort funding program. 

The primary funding organization for undergraduate student groups is the Student Activities Council, a branch of Penn Student Government that sets annual budgets for recognized organizations. But in the case of unforeseen costs, such as one-time speaker events, groups can apply for UA Contingency, a "last resort source of funding for events that have convincingly exhausted all other possible alternatives."

The UA Contingency Fund started the school year with $16,785. As of right now, there still remains $12,095 that student groups can use, and the UA budget committee is working to increase awareness about the availability of this funding source.

“The money is there and we want a lot of groups to apply for small amounts and receive it rather than a few groups applying for huge amounts,” College junior and UA Treasurer Kat McKay said. “It should be a resource for everyone.”

Currently, six events have been funded by UA Contingency, including Skimmerfest — hosted by SPEC and Class Boards — and the Junot Diaz speaker event hosted by UMOJA and the United Minorities Council.

Student groups can typically receive funding from umbrella organizations such as the Intercultural Fund or Penn Association for Gender Equity, and these are usually the first sources that groups are encouraged to reach out. However, these organizations themselves often cannot spend the majority of their money on a single event, since they need to preserve their budgets throughout the year.

“Many of these umbrella organizations, like UMOJA, will spend money on their constituents but not [on] themselves so then they seek UA Contingency,” McKay said.

For groups that are unsuccessful in securing money from other sources, UA Contingency is the last resort. Events or initiatives seeking funding must meet the requirement of being open to the whole Penn undergraduate community.

“We can’t fund food or items that aren’t necessities … we get a ton of requests but a lot of them either get funded elsewhere or they’re not eligible because they just want food or it’s a closed event,” McKay said.

After reviewing the requests, the UA budget committee, comprised of McKay, Engineering senior Jacob Henner and College sophomore Michelle Xu, make a recommendation to the UA general body, which votes on the request.

Since a large proportion of the Contingency Fund is still available, the UA has been marketing this funding source and in turn raising greater awareness of funding in general. Groups must apply for funding online through the Penn Common Funding Application and may find sources of which they previously were unaware.

“The money is there and now we just need people to come get it,” McKay said.

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