Fundraising for Fun or for Fulfillment?

If you participate in clubs on campus, you might have had to spend time fundraising. At Wilson College, over thirty club activities exist that are funded by the Wilson College Government Association (WCGA). As of Apr. 21, WCGA had a balance of $52,684.91. From this amount, $32,000 has been allocated for club apportionments and $3,562 has been provided for class allocations.

The apportionment process requires that each club gives a spending plan to WCGA at the start of semester. “Each club has a chance to request money. It has to be based on what they expect to be spending throughout the semester,” said WCGA President Ghada Tafesh ’16. “[The WCGA] Treasurer is not the only one who decides as well. I think she works with the business office as well, to decide how much money each club gets.”

To receive an apportionment, each club must write a proposal and submit it by a specific deadline. However, even after a club submits their proposal, they cannot be sure that they will receive the exact amount they requested. Once WCGA reviews the requests, each club may receive an apportionment. However, the club must also prove that they used the apportionment money for the reason it was requested. This requires that they submit pictures and receipts to the WCGA.

Not every club will receive an apportionment and they may appeal the decision. However, because of limited funds, not every club can get enough money to maintain their operating budget.

 “It depends on how big a club it is and how active it is,” said Tafesh. “We have to have our own standard and reasons why we fund things. Not everything should be approved, [and] not everything should be rejected.”

As a result, clubs must often do their own fundraising to keep the club running. While some students feel that it is a fun activity, others find it stressful.

Students have a chance to support one another by participating in fundraising. They can sit at tables to sell goods and services or purchase what clubs are offering.

As a consumer, Daniel Glazier ’18 does not feel forced to buy when it comes to fundraising.

Glazier said, “I have never felt forced to buy something from another club when they do things like a bake sale or something like that. I’ve never really felt pressured. I mean that they just calmly sit at their table so it’s not really like pressure.”

Emily Stanton ’15 mentioned that she understands how hard fundraising is, so she tries to help students as much as she can.,

Students fundraising outside of the dining hall during meals Photo provided by Danbi Koo

Students fundraising outside of the dining hall during meals

Photo provided by Danbi Koo

“I feel bad, especially for student organizations. I feel bad because I know a lot of students don’t buy things, so if I’ve got five dollars in my wallet I’ll buy five dollars’ worth of something.”

What about in retailer’s view? Selling things can be frightening to some and cause frustration and anxiety. Each student who has experienced a shift at a table has a different opinion.

 “I think it’s once you start doing it it’s actually fun,” said Anna Harutyunyan ‘17. “But for most people, it’s kind of hard to start doing stuff because they think ‘Oh, I don’t have enough time or I’m busy or I’m not a good sales person or something’.”

Harutyunyan said that while she sells fundraising items, she has also become a consumer at the same time.

“I very rarely [buy something] because I’m poor,” said Harutyunyan. “If I wasn’t poor, I would probably support the idea of benefiting the club, but WCGA has a lot of money and they don’t give a lot of money to the clubs.”

She pointed out WCGA’s apportionment process which did not give enough money to everybody. When asked whether WCGA should give more money to clubs when requested, Harutyunyan said, “If they can, they should.”

On the other hand, fundraising increases club budgets and bonding.Samantha Schlegel ’17 said, “I am in a lot of different clubs. And fundraising is probably the most important part of being in a club because you have to raise funds in order to do things with your club.”

However, most college students would rather save their money than buy expensive goods to support clubs they do not participate in.

Schlegel further states, “It can be really difficult sometimes, especially on the college campus, because most college students do not have money to buy things and they are usually very picky about what they do spend their money on. “

However, fundraising does not only put pressure on students—to fundraise for clubs, students often solicit donations from faculty and staff as well.

Dean of Students Mary Beth Williams said, “I know a lot of groups do [fundraise], and I’ve bought a lot of stuff. I do not know if they intentionally pressured me, but I feel like it is part of my responsibility to do that. I want to support as best as I can.” Williams continues, “It would help me as a customer if I knew what the clubs using their money for. So I wonder if that would help to get more people to buy things.” She also mentioned that she is likely to ask students what the money is being used for, but a lot of times student do not know. You should always tell the faculty, staff and students why you are selling. “Among the solutions, a student fee where apportionments come from would be a key point.

“We could raise student fees because the way clubs are funded is through student fees, so if we raise student fees, clubs can have more money, but I don’t think most people want that to happen,” said Williams. Simply, it would be the best way to raise the student fee but it is not a good solution for everybody since no one wants to pay more. Williams said, “My solution is always using your money wisely, ask for money and then use your money wisely. You have it and collaborate with other organizations to make best use of their money.”

Dr. Jonathan Z Long, Assistant Professor of Communications, said, “I do feel sad that sometimes people have to raise funds. If there is more funding as the college campus goes, that would help. I think it’s a good test for the students as well.”

He noted that as a faculty member, he does his best to help with fundraising because he also understands how students feel.

“It is challenging,” said Long. “But that’s why faculty and staff can be supportive.”

There are different and interesting answers behind the question “What will be helpful to solve a fundraising problem?”

Tafesh said, “If they ask for help, we generally take it into consideration. If they ask for help, we don’t make it harder. We are students as well and we are from classes and clubs that need funds as well. So we understand how hard that is.”

Williams said, “I wonder if clubs should come more together to raise money so that can be cheaper. I wonder if more collaboration would help.”

Fundraising should be fun and educational too. It should help organizations whether they are school-related or in the local community. However, fundraising should not become a burden to students and school staff. For these club fundraising pressures, the school and students need to cooperate.

 “I just wish we lived in a world where we didn’t have to raise funds for things,” said Long.

As Williams noted, clubs should spend their money wisely and provide specific information about club spending to be more transparent. In addition, if they could not get enough apportionments, they can appeal to WCGA following an interview with WCGA’s president. Also, students can broaden their scope outside of campus for the sponsorship of the Chambersburg community. Money is limited but most of the student organizations and clubs need money for other things. For sensible and fair apportionments, students need to pay attention to each other.


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