The UB Student Association (SA) extended the deadline for club officer training to Sept. 25, and then again to Sept. 30, from the original deadline of Sept. 11. As of the morning of Sept. 12, some clubs still did not have access to training.
The training will be added to UBLearns this week, and clubs will not be able to access their budgets until they complete training, SA Vice President Sammi Pang said in a Sept. 6 email to club leaders.
Club training takes place on UBLearns and consists of watching videos, reading documents and passing quizzes with a score of at least 80%. The president, vice president, treasurer and secretary of each club are required to complete the training.
Clubs began complaining last week about the delay in budget access.
“We need to register for competition in less than two weeks, we have to make several thousand dollars appear out of thin air,” Auburn Schwartzmeyer, an officer in the Society of Automotive Engineers, said. “The entire point of our club is competition, and registration is very time sensitive. It’s frustrating to expect full compliance from us when we aren’t even told what’s going on.”
Clubs began expressing concern in the Clubs Discord channel — an online forum and chatroom for UB club leaders — on Sept. 5. SA decided to permanently disable the Clubs Discord channel soon after.
On Monday, Pang sent a follow-up email announcing the deadline was extended again to Sept. 30, and that all officers should have been added to club training. Pang also announced that quizzes would allow unlimited attempts and that a previously unavailable content check quiz would be open to club officers.
Despite Discord complaints about the delay in training, Pang told The Spectrum, “club training this year has been released a day or two earlier than it was last year.”
Kyle Palmatier, treasurer of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), says the delay has set the timeline for the construction of their main project — building a rocket — back because they are not able to order materials until the training is complete.
“With this delay in budget access and the fact that SA takes two weeks to process orders, we will now be getting material in, hopefully, early October,” Palmatier said. “We have no way of funding introductory events… These events are crucial in getting new students involved in our club, and without the usual way of ordering items through SA, it becomes difficult to source funds.”
Palmatier also expressed frustration that the online training was not conducted over the summer.
“SA still has withheld this training until mid-September, and as an engineering student, it is very hard to add another training course to our already large course load,” Palmatier said.
Palmatier said that SEDS was unable to take advantage of early budget access for their club because they did not have any events planned before the fall semester.
Clubs that wished to use their budget before Sept. 24 were able to request early budget access.
“[Early budget access] will only be approved for events/transactions that are necessary. Clubs should not make any commitments before getting an approved purchase order,” SA Treasurer Unnati Agarwal said in an Aug. 9 email to club leaders. “If your request is approved, then I will reach out to you to schedule finance training, and once it is completed, we will allow your club to submit requests in SAFE for the specific event/item your early budget access was approved for.”
Dominick Matarese is a senior features editor and can be reached at email@example.com