GW funds us with nearly $250,000 a year . every GW student should have a say in how that money is spent.
These were the words expressed by Program Board Executive Chair Seth Weinert in an opinion piece June 26, 2000 (Program Board’s role defined). However, this is not what I have witnessed in this past semester. My say was neglected.
The Caribbean Students Association was formed and created in order to educate the wider University populace of the Caribbean and expose the GW community to the rich culture that we possess. This task has been rather difficult this year, thanks to the actions of the Program Board.
As a predominantly undergraduate organization, we have put on many programs this semester aimed at encouraging GW students to learn more about us. Some of these programs included Sounds of the Caribbean and Social I and II. We were even very fortunate to have the Ambassador of Jamaica address our Fourth Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, which was held at the Embassy Suites hotel. The 120 or so participants enjoyed a delightful evening of Caribbean cuisine and entertainment. Earlier in the semester, our organization highlighted the sounds that are unique to the many Caribbean islands. This Triple Play event went very well.
The CSA also recently held a Rasta Forum, which was an educational program that talked about the little-known Rastafarian religion. This along with the other events that we have had throughout the semester were made possible without assistance from the richest student group, the Program Board. As a member of a student organization aimed at cultural diversity, I am rather disappointed and frankly upset over the lack of support that the PB has shown us during the past semester.
For a group with such an enormous budget that claims to assist student groups with co-sponsorships, PB’s performance has left me disappointed. The events that we have held were all turned down for any kind of financial support from the Program Board, even the one that affects the majority of the GW campus. Which one is that you ask? None other than Midnight Breakfast.
Hopefully by now you should have heard or read that this year Midnight Breakfast is being done Caribbean style. We believe that this is an opportunity to showcase our heritage in a big way, however for a moment it looked as if we would have to forgo our plans to co-host this fabulous event. Why? We were again denied support from an organization that tries to sponsor programming that benefits the whole campus: the Program Board.
If this is not an event that benefits the GW community, I don’t know what is. Their claim for denial was that Midnight Breakfast was an administrative event and that the administration should have to pay for it. And I agree. Midnight Breakfast is typically an administrative event held in J Street. However, this year’s event is an extension of the traditional Midnight Breakfast, a chance to expand the horizons and try something new. The CSA requested the opportunity to follow in the precedence set by Latinos for Progress and host a breakfast in the Hippodrome.
Student groups are not allocated an enormous amount of funds and must seek co-sponsorship for events. This is such an event. Unlike the Student Association and Marvin Center Governing Board, the PB did not understand that this was not counter-programming to the Midnight Breakfast held in J Street, but a joint effort, between the CSA and the Student Activities Center. PB refused to support us. We take this opportunity to express our frustration with this organization’s lack of assistance with us reaching our goal. And as for the statement that GW students should have a say in how $250,000 dollars is spent, I know a group of students that do not have that privilege.
-The writer, a senior majoring in environmental studies, is writing on behalf of the executive board of the Caribbean Students Association.