Clubs on Campus Struggle to Find Approval for Fundraising Ideas

The Sigma Delta Tau sorority is one of the newest Greek life options on campus and, as a result, still struggles with the difficulties of being a new club.

Some of those struggles include finding effective ways to fundraise on campus and to get those ideas approved by  the Office of Student Activities.

“We do a lot of philanthropy work, we fundraise for Prevent Child Abuse America and women’s empowerment groups,” SDT secretary Julie Teller said.

According to Teller, SDT only received an $800 budget from Student Activities for the year.

In her freshman and sophomore year, Teller said that clubs used to be able to hold bake sales but are no longer allowed to do so by Student Activities.

Last November, The Quadrangle reported on fundraising policies at MC and found that the reason for this policy is because of the legal ramifications of spoiled or undercooked foods being sold on campus.

“There’s a public safety issue of food on campus, where—God forbid—if someone gets a food sickness, allergy or something isn’t cooked correctly, it can create a lot of liability issues,” Student Activities Director John Bennett said.

Of course, SDT doesn’t only have issues when it comes to selling food.

Club fundraising is no easy work. It requires tedious planning and paperwork and often a budget that, for some clubs, is less than they had hoped for.

Policies surrounding fundraised money  also require clubs to give some of the proceeds back to Student Activities.

“For example, if a club raises $700, they can donate 50 percent of that money to a charity, but if they make $2000, they can donate $500,” Bennett said.

According to Bennett, the money given back to Student Activities is factored into the club’s budget.

However, for philanthropy clubs like SDT, the money wasn’t meant to be kept for their own budget, which still does not exceed $1,000.  Instead, fundraised money is intended for the charities that the sorority has partnered with.

The most difficult part, according to SDT members, of fundraising under these circumstances is feeling like they have to earn the trust of the group’s facilitators, Student Activities.

“I think it’s harder because we are newer and they don’t really know us as well as they now the other Greek organizations on campus,” Emily Garvilla, president of SDT, said, who noted the club’s difficulty being granted access to rooms in the Student Commons for recruitment time next week.

The concept of new clubs needing to “earn the trust” of Student Activities is not unheard of.  The American Society of Civil Engineers, which has a student chapter at MC, has expressed a similar view.

“You have to prove that you are going to use the entire budget every year, and it will probably get approved,” Anderson Garcia, who is the treasurer of ASCE, said.

ASCE, which does not conduct fundraisers because they consider themselves a professional group and see no need, has seen in an increase in their club budget for three consecutive years.  That budget, according to Garcia, is over $1,000.

Student Activities remains adamant that no one club is more important than another and those that receive more money are given that based on expenses.

“It’s not that we don’t want to fundraise, it’s just hard to come up with ideas with the parameters that they give us,” Teller said, “every other sorority in the world can sell ice cream but we can’t.”