Student dining group tries to spark interest in food grants

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Alex Barbieri, chair of the Student Dining Board, is urging student groups to apply for extra catering funding.

With 300 student groups vying for Student Association funding each year, another group on campus wants to give out more cash.

Members of the Student Dining Board say they want more organizations to know about the group’s $30,000 pot of cash from GW’s dining company, Sodexo, which can be used to cater any campus event.

Thirty-three student organizations, out of about 400 overall at GW, applied for funds last fall.

Alex Barbieri, the board’s chairman, said he emailed presidents of every student organization on campus and has pushed out the grant opportunities on Twitter. He’s also trying to streamline the application process to increase interest.

Two months into the semester, the Student Dining Board has heard from 25 groups looking for extra catering cash.

“I think the word is getting out that we do have funds,” Barbieri said. “More organizations are starting to use it, which is definitely a great thing.”

The dining board closed out the academic year thinking it had no leftover funds. But University record-keeping later found out that the group still had money available because some organizations had canceled their events and failed to tell the board.

Student Dining Board managed to allocate the remaining funds before the end of the year, and Barbieri said he is now working with Colonial Catering and Campus Support Services to avoid discrepancies in record-keeping by comparing financial books every month.

Jon Carfagno, executive chair of GW Program Board, said his organization had applied for dining co-sponsorships in past years, but said the streamlined application process made a request this year “more straightforward than it has been before.”

“The updated process was quick and efficient in targeting the needs of my student organization,” he said in an email.

GW Program Board, the largest student programming organization on campus, has used the co-sponsorship for a number of their events, since any student event held in the Marvin Center must use Colonial Catering.

Julia Schear, Epsilon Sigma Alpha’s philanthropy chair, said she received a quick response and called the application very “user-friendly” after she petitioned the dining board for money.

Barbieri said he was pleased with the uptick in interest, but acknowledged that the group’s budget couldn’t satisfy demands of every student group.

“I want to give money to everyone, but I can’t,” he said.

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