Senators face tough decisions as funds run low

Kathleen Moore / THE GATEPOST

Student organizations faced pushback while requesting funds from SGA during its weekly senate meeting on Feb. 19.

During the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, senators voted multiple times before allocating funds for Fashion Club’s upcoming fashion show slated for April 26. After four votes to bring the motion to the floor, with the final standing being five for and three against, the club was allocated $11,097.43 for the event.

Initially, senators asked if the show was mandatory for students in the fashion major. If that were the case, the fashion department should provide funding, not SGA.

Fashion Club publicist Rebecca Parker told the senate, “The [fashion] department doesn’t have anything to do with our club. … We are the ones that run the show.

“It’s not a mandatory show. It’s the senior portfolio showcase that is mandatory,” Parker added. 

Fashion Club Vice President Lauren Paolini said, “When you come to this school, the fashion show is something you look forward to.”

Participation in the show is not limited to fashion majors, either. Parliamentarian Adam Scanlon said, “They’ve been putting out applications. … You can apply to be a model” or enter something in the show. 

Parker said “around 30 percent” of the participants are not fashion majors.

Senator Abigail Salvucci asked if the club had done any fundraising for the show. Parker answered, “We never really had to in the past. … At this point, we don’t have time.” 

Senator Matty Bennet asked if there are “avenues for grants or funding” from industry professionals, to which Parker responded, “It’s really just not an option.”

Bennet also asked why the club waited until now to submit their request, despite the show occurring annually. Parker answered, “We usually wait until after … November because we have a couple things going on, like the Trashion Show.”

She added funding requests have “never been an issue” and the club does not receive any donations for events. “Whatever you guys give us is what we take in and appreciate.”

SGA President Ben Carrington asked why the club included $1,625 for chairs instead of using chairs provided by Campus Events. 

Parker said stage provider Immedia brings white chairs. “That’s so that we can have industry partners sit front row.”

Parker added, “We don’t want to … budge with the white chairs.” The club reached out to Campus Events to acquire white chairs, but the request was “shut down.” 

While Fashion Club is trying to “trim” the budget as much as possible, Parker said the chairs remain vital to the show and the quote provided by Immedia is non-negotiable. However, the senate discussed removing certain line items, particularly the white chairs.

Senators deliberated over the funding request multiple times. Bennet said, “Given SGA’s current balance sheet … this would be an extremely huge hit.”

When Bennet motioned to fund half the cost of the event, Student Trustee Ayanna Ferguson said, “Funding them half the cost would mean that there is no fashion show.” 

Parker responded, “This is the most bare minimum fashion show I have ever seen.” 

Fashion Club Treasurer Ali Gallo added, “We cannot have a fashion show without those chairs!”

Vice President Alex Backer said, “If we do not fund this, we are doing a disservice to this campus community.”

He added, “That’s our mission: to be advocates for the student body and to bring people together on this campus – that’s what a club is for.”

Scanlon asked, “Why weren’t we concerned about [money] five months ago?” 

Bennet said, “It breaks my heart that we’re at this point right now, that we do not have money.”

Carrington said, “This debate, in terms of, ‘Should this be coming from Academic Affairs or Student Affairs?’ should not be falling on the students.”

He added, “If we think this is a good event, I think senate should vote in favor.”

After a recess, SGA approved Fashion Club’s next funding request, which would provide a DJ and photographer for the fashion show. The amount allocated was $3,100, removing programs and promotional items.

The photographer is a “professor on campus,” according to Parker, although the club has yet to negotiate a price. Parker assured the senate the cost would be under the $1,850 proposal.

Salvucci said, regarding the printing of programs, “If you guys start printing now, using the five prints a day from the SGA office, that could be free printing.”

The senate also approved Fashion Club’s third request for $642.50 for an event called, “Make It Work.” The competitive fashion design event will be held on Mar. 30. 

Also at the meeting, SGA approved Anime Club’s request for $2,895 for tickets and transportation to Anime Boston 2019 on April 19 and 20. This is less than the club’s initial request of $5,145, since the number of funded tickets was halved and transportation was limited to one day. 

SGA allocated $150.64 for Nutrition Club’s Career Symposium. However, the club initially requested $820.47.

Jensen Allie, Nutrition Club secretary, said they have “never [been] turned down from budgeting before.”

M.I.S.S. requested $7,453.78 for their annual carnival. However, Bennet motioned to remove food and merchandise from the request, making the total allocation $5,873.20.

M.I.S.S. President Ewnie Fedna responded, “The reason we have [the merchandise] is because that’s something people expect to have.” 

Treasurer Liraniz Colon said at the carnival, “you expect to have carnival food.”

Out of the seven funding requests seen by SGA, one was approved without conflict. Symphonic Band was allocated $875 to fulfill the contract that pays the band director.

[Editor’s note: Lauren Paolini is a member of The Gatepost staff].