SA more reluctant to fund profitable student events

With just a month of rehearsals remaining before their biannual concert, the GW Pitches a cappella group faces funding problems that may put one of their most anticipated events in jeopardy.

The Student Association Finance Committee recently denied a $400 co-sponsorship request, possibly forcing the group’s members to pay out of pocket for the performance’s production, a task many said they simply cannot afford.

The Pitches is the most recent student organization saying the Finance Committee is making them a lower priority because they charge admission for their events.

“Right now, we are doing the best we can to get some answers,” said Katlyn Allen, a member of the Pitches. “We’ve talked to our SAC adviser, who was no help. Unfortunately, I don’t see any other options.”

The a cappella concert has been used in past years as a fundraiser as well as a showcase of the group’s music. Allen said that the typical $5 or $7 admission fee was used to pay for music copies, supplies, posters and the concert’s production.

But SA Sen. Steve Glatter, G-Law, a member of the Finance Committee, said student organizations that seek to profit from their events and programming may meet more resistance from this year’s SA Finance Committee when requesting funding.

Because the Finance Committee receives such a huge volume of requests, Glatter said it is considered unjustifiable to fund those requests that plan to earn a profit.

“This is hardly punitive, but instead one way to show the Finance Committee that a group is financially savvy and responsible,” Glatter said. “Groups that can make money should be proud that they do not have to ask for funds to hold their great events.”

The South Asian Society experienced similar difficulties garnering funds from the SA for their annual Bhangra Blowout event. The group received $6,000 in co-sponsorship funds last year but were denied any financial assistance this year. SAS treasurer Anil Desai said the SA did not provide an adequate reason for the denial.

While Glatter said that the SA supports student organizations that bolster their financial stability by charging admission to events, it is important that these events not take priority over others. Student groups that can earn enough money to run their own events by making a profit should not claim SA funding, he said.

“By planning profitable events, organizations not only establish financial foundations for future events, but also keep money in the larger pot for events they may hold when self-help fundraising is untenable,” Glatter said. “That being said, our duty is to the entire GW community, not any one organization.”

Still, Allen said she worries that student organizations will not be able to thrive without receiving SA support for their profiting events.

“We spend so much money to go to this school, it is ridiculous that the University cannot find a way to fund student organizations, especially since the school prides itself on such wonderful student life,” she said. “Student organizations will not survive if the lack of funding continues.”

Glatter said that next year’s Finance Committee will need to decide whether or not to take a similar stance on for-profit student events. Until then, he encourages groups like the Pitches to see a different side of the funding issue.

“It is harmful to all student organizations when groups take student money that is used to fund events that cannot happen without the help and stash it away in revenue accounts as profit,” Glatter said. “Organizations should work with their SAC adviser well before they apply for SA funds to develop a financial plan for major events and proactively avoid financing problems.”

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