Student ideas to get funding

Rachel Logan, News Editor

Campus events are no longer to be organized by the Programming Board. Rather, students and organizations can submit a grant request from a weekly pool of available programming funds.

Student Affairs Vice President Shawn Brooks described the new procedure as taking decision power from the Programming Board and giving it to students to initiate event ideas.

“In order to be good stewards of the student activity fee, we must spend it wisely and invest where (students) show up,” Brooks said.

Programming Board members are to decide, however, which event proposals receive funding.

He said Programming Board members had good ideas last year, but were spending lots of money on events like the traditional Spring Concert, where there wasn’t a good turnout and,  in effect, wasting student money.

As an experiment, Brooks said board members allocated funds to the Ski Club for its Rail Jam event last winter.

“It exceeded our wildest expectations,” he said.

Brooks noted that the price per participant was miniscule for participants and spectators, while the students’ enjoyment of the event was immense.

“Students know what they want to do,” he said.

Thus, he said, programming grants were born.

According to Brooks, the collective student activity fee pool is to be split into week slices, allowing up to $1,500 to $2,000 to be spent for each of the 24 programming weeks. Clubs can request funds to host campus-wide events by pulling from this pool.

“That way, we’re not trapped into monthly Bingo Nights,” he said.

“We’re having clubs and organizations do all the work.”

Student Government Vice President Nick DiGiorgio said the point was to give students access to their fee money.

“We’re changing who’s (proposing) ideas,” he said.

“We hope to give students some equity, so they’re more inclined to bring friends.”

DiGiorgio said there would still be a Programming-Board-sponsored event every month.

Forms are to be submitted two weeks in advance and will be available in front of the Student Government office, in the Student Life office and via email for club officers.

Some of the main boundaries for submitted events are that no alcohol is to be purchased with grant money, trips off campus are to include a chaperone, typically the adviser, and events must be inclusive of all Pitt-Johnstown students.

Events are also not to be used as fundraisers, except by donation; therefore, no entrance fee is allowed, but tip jars or donation boxes can be used.

Submissions are to be reviewed by Programming Board members at their 6 p.m. Monday meetings.

The first meeting covered more than six event  proposals.

DiGiorgio said that there already has been one request for a block party from Phi Sigma Sigma.

Lacrosse Club President Web Burrier said he’d like to host a campus event similar to Midnight Madness.

“There would be events outside while we played a game (of lacrosse).” Burrier said.

“You say free food, free T-shirts: everyone’s there.”

Last year, the club struggled to get funding through student government due to an issue with paperwork, so dues were increased to cover the cost of referees. The club was unable to purchase new uniforms for last year.

This year, the club was more successful with funding due to Burrier’s close contact with Student Government President Kyle Maguire.

“As a club sport, we need to generate interest.” Burrier said he thought an event grant would be a good way to accomplish this.