Clubs work together to build coalition, network

Joseph Wilson

Four CSUN clubs have spearheaded the building of a network of communications to support each other in events and their dealings with Associated Students.

“We need to build a base made up of clubs that are progressive and that are politically active,” said Carlos Moran, chair of CSUN Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Atzlan.

Moran said that MEChA, the Black Student Union, the Muslim Student Association, and the Atzlan Graduation Committee have held meetings to set up contacts and share information. Other clubs are being courted to join, including the CSUN Greens and the Women’s Studies Student Association.

“We’re still in the initial stages (of building the network),” Moran said.

Meetings were held at the beginning of the spring, but as the end of the semester nears meetings have not been held, Moran said.

He said that the funding for MEChA and other clubs has not been as much as in previous semesters.

“There has been a lack of funding and support from A.S. compared to previous years,” Moran said.

At the first meeting, club and organization members discussed how they believed they were not getting enough funding from A.S. and how participation in club meetings and events were very low.

Maria Rodriguez, co-chair of the AGC, said her club has been raising funds by selling tamales, hosting parties and receiving business donations. Money for her club and others from A.S., however, has not been enough, she said.

“I noticed it last year, that a lot of organizations were not receiving a lot of funding,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who was an A.S. senator last semester, said that A.S. told her that there was not enough money.

“It’s not that we didn’t have enough money,” Bryanne Knight, director of finance for A.S., said adding that there is a limited amount of money in the A.S. budget.

“Now there’s budget language that can help them with these events, like $500 to get them started,” she said.

Rodriguez said the graduation will take about $10,000 to fund.

A.S. gave the Atzlan graduation committee $1,100 out of the annual A.S. budget for the graduation, Rodriguez said.

“I think that people don’t understand what our needs are as students or as organizations,” Rodriguez said.

Knight said, however, that details of the Aztlan graduation ceremony could have prevented the club from getting the money it felt it was owed.

“We wanted to help them put on the events. But according to our policy, charging students to go to events limits their access, and A.S.” wants to support events that welcome all students, regardless of payment, Knight said.

Forming a coalition with other clubs is a way of letting the university know that the clubs, while doing separate events, are also working together, she said.

Fatima Billo, sophomore sociology major, is a member of MSA and has attended the collaboration meetings held at the beginning of the semester. She said that the club leaders she met with were not aware of the common problems they had.

“Every club thought they were on their own and that they were the only ones having these problems,” Billo said.

A.S. has not been able to fund clubs the way they used to, Billo said.

Sharonda Johnson, historian of the BSU, said there are talks to conduct “Unity Day” in September 2006, which would bring organizations together.