As GW student groups commemorate the year’s end with banquets and luncheons, the Student Association and Program Board are preparing “transition dinners” carrying price tags of more than $3,000.
Students pick up the tab for the SA dinner – the SA budget consists of a one dollar per credit hour fee each student pays on their tuition bill.
The PB is University-funded.
At the end of every spring semester, both organizations plan the transition dinners to welcome students elected and appointed for the next year.
The PB dinner, at Sequoia restaurant in Georgetown this Saturday, will cost about $3,500, PB Executive Chair Alicia O’Neil said.
About 100 people are invited to the dinner, including outgoing and incoming board members and three members each from about a dozen committees and guests, O’Neil said.
She said the $3,500 price accounts for less than 3 percent of PB’s $225,000 budget, allocated by Student and Academic Support Services. PB also receives funding from sponsors at several events during the year.
SA Transition Director Christian Berle said previous SA dinners have cost $2,000- 3,000. He said this year’s is expected to be comparable, but the exact cost is not yet known. SA President Roger Kapoor said last year’s banquet cost about $7,000.
The dinner is booked in the Washington Marriott hotel on 22nd Street Friday. The SA also invited about 100 people, including outgoing and incoming members and all candidates in this year’s student elections, to their dinner.
SA Finance Chair Dan Moss said the money spent on transition dinners is allocated strictly for the dinner.
“No student group money is used,” he said.
Out of the 200 student groups the SA allocates money to, 17 groups are initially allocated more than the $3,000 earmarked for a transition dinner each academic year.
Former SA President David Burt said the SA has a “history of extravagant dinners.”
O’Neil said she knows $3,500 is “no small expense.”
“I’m not saying it’s inconsequential,” she said. “I’m just saying the vast majority of PB funds is spent elsewhere.”
For both groups, unspent funds carry over from semester to semester.
Some students said spending nearly $6,000 on the two events was not justified because not all students are able to attend the events.
“I definitely think it’s a little bit ridiculous, this elite Sequoia dinner,” senior Emma Greenman said.
Freshman Katherine Higginbotham said the dinners should be less costly.
“I’ll make them all sandwiches, good sandwiches, and they won’t have to spend all that money,” she said.
Other students said the SA and PB are entitled to the dinners because members work for students the whole year.
“I certainly think they deserve something,” sophomore Rachel Sherman said.