The Student Dining Board catering fund from Sodexo doubled this year, but fewer organizations are vying for the larger pool.
The student-run dining group allocated about one-third of its total $30,000 for the year so far. Sixty organizations have received catering grants, compared to 67 at the same time last year.
Any student organization can apply for the grant, which pays for Sodexo-prepared meals, ranging from tandoori chicken to Swedish meatballs, at student-organization events across campus. Sodexo upped its funding for catered events as part of its revamped relationship with the University this fall.
All events in the Marvin Center must be catered by Sodexo, per the University’s contract with the food provider.
Ben Leighton, chair of the Student Dining Board, said groups are not thinking about co-sponsorships, because their Student Association budgets are getting them through so far.
He said the dip in applications could be due to the SA’s overhauled allocations process – in which event funding is no longer dependent upon co-sponsorships. Under the new system, student groups received a lump sum of money in September, instead of applying for funds on an event-by-event basis throughout the year.
Because of the dramatic upwelling of funds, the Student Dining Board boosted the cap from $300 to $500 per group request, allowing groups to receive more money this year. Still, Leighton said the group is saving funds for the second semester, when it believes Student Association funding will begin to run dry.
Because the Student Association has only 20 percent of its total budget left for co-sponsorships after initial allocations, he expects groups will request more grant money from the Student Dining Board to cover their year-end celebrations. Leighton added that most end-of-the-year meetings and parties include catering, which would qualify for the Sodexo grants.
Leighton said the Student Dining Board has launched an advertisement campaign and has been working with the Center for Student Engagement advising team to get the word out about catering co-sponsorships.
“The goal overall is to raise awareness and reach as many organizations as possible,” Leighton said.
Dylan Pyne, chair of the Marvin Center Governing Board, the umbrella group that oversees the Student Dining Board, urged students to take advantage of the grant pool.
“We’d like to receive more applications. Students forget that more than just the Student Association gives out co-sponsorships,” Pyne said.
Jeremy Iloulian, chair of the International Affairs Society – which received $27,500 in Student Association funds – said 80 percent of his organization’s requests to the Student Dining Board have been approved, but did not say how many dollars were received.
This article appeared in the November 21, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.