About the Undergraduate Finance Board
The Undergraduate Finance Board allocates the Student Activities fee to various student groups and initiatives across campus. Every year, Brown students pay an annual Student Activities fee as part of tuition. This fee, which is currently $274.00, finances various student activities, including over 50 Category II, 150 Category III, and service groups. This Student Activities fee also finances other areas, including programming for identity centers, which include the Brown Center for Students of Color (BCSC), LGBTQ Center, and Sarah Doyle Women’s Center (SWDC). UFB plays into this as the organization that is responsible for allocating funding to Category II funds and Category III and Service Group organized budgets. The Board also collaborates with UCS to arrange contracts on behalf of the student body, lobbies with student groups to the Brown administration to update the Student Activities Fee and other financial concerns, provides funding for large-scale investment projects designed by student groups, and assists student groups with their budgeting concerns and fund raising aspirations.
Before the existence of the Undergraduate Finance Board, the Student Activities Fund was allocated by both the Student Union and the Undergraduate Council of Students. These two bodies budgeted independently, requiring student groups to apply to not one but two bodies in order to fund raise. There arose, in the complex budgeting process, numerous problems with this system. According to the Report of the Budget Process Review Committee, the past structure "impede[d] communication, compromise[d] consistency, create[d] confusion, and splinter[ed] accountability."
Lack of communication led to inconsistent budgeting decisions. The two bodies were forced to look at a tiny part of the whole picture, leading to groundless allocations. Groups had to go back and forth between the Student Union and UCS because each was more concerned about the other's accountability than its own; sometimes, groups would be accidentally funded twice or not at all. According to the original proposal for the creation of UFB, "The right hand [knew] not the actions of the left."
The Undergraduate Finance Board was created on November 26, 1984, as a joint agreement between the Undergraduate Council of Students and the Student Union. It was intended to be " A Central Budget Group," according to the original proposal, and has continued to retain that original purpose. All members of the Undergraduate Finance Board are undergraduate students at Brown University, ensuring that the students' money is in student hands.