Contemplating Club Circumstance

Josh+Erme+practices+a+siva+afi+stick+as+part+of+the+Pacific+Islander%27s+club+%28PICCA%29+on+campus%2C+founded+by+Pierce+Salave%27a.%0A%0ABen+Hansen+%7C+The+Falcon

Josh Erme practices a siva afi stick as part of the Pacific Islander’s club (PICCA) on campus, founded by Pierce Salave’a. Ben Hansen | The Falcon

Hope Fitzgerald

photo: Josh Erme practices a siva afi stick as part of the Pacific Islander’s club (PICCA) on campus, founded by Pierce Salave’a. | Ben Hansen, The Falcon

As the number of clubs grows on Seattle Pacific University’s campus, so does the amount of money requested and problems with its distribution.

Recently, the implementation of a new Committee for Student Clubs (CSC) policy was made public. This policy affects all official SPU clubs that want to host signature events.

The committee itself is made up of current SPU students, including coordinator Elisa Jones, while being advised by the assistant director of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Staff, Jacob Arzaga.

As a reminder, signature events cost $2,000 or more and have an anticipated attendance of over 150 people.

Specifically created by clubs, the approval of the event and its components must be passed by school sponsored leadership organizations including the CSC, Finance Board, and student senate; all of which are comprised of students, some of which are on multiple of these boards.

This is a financial policy, however, that does not apply to school sponsored organizations like ASSP core, STUB or media groups like KSPU.

The policy now requires clubs to fundraise for their signature event, and are provided a ticket loan by the school.

Clubs that fail to meet the requirements outlined in the new policy can be prevented by CSC from hosting the event that year or the following year.

The final funding amount for such an event is approved by a majority vote in senate, and clubs can be funded any amount equal to or under $4,000 at their discretion.

A few weeks ago, when senate voted on the Pacific Island Club of Cultural Arts’ (PICCA) funding, the founder Pierce Salvea stated that, “Overall as a club, many of us were upset and discouraged, and we understand they said money is tight and appreciate what we got but we didn’t get what we were hoping for.”

Although Arzaga was interviewed about the new policy, he denied the request to be recorded, explaining he would not feel comfortable.

Overall he explained that the new policy’s mission is to provide structure and direction on how to make financial decisions due to the increase in the number of clubs that are looking to host larger events.

With the impactful effects of the policy, interviews were conducted with three club leaders to discuss the overall impact and views on the new financial policy.

Although acknowledging the potential value of this policy, some club leaders expressed concern over how quickly it came into action referring to its public announcement just at the beginning of winter quarter.

“It would have been beneficial, if approached correctly, … by easing into the new policy, pushing for clubs to be more independent and able to fundraise. A quick switch is what leads to unwanted repercussions and the inability to support clubs to the best means possibly,” said Omni Lott, president of the Black Student Union Club.

Salvea said that, “A positive thing is it forces clubs to plan ahead and be active, … but has put clubs this year to a disadvantage because it happened so quickly … and moving closer to an event we are losing time, which loses us time to fundraise money and attend all of the required schedule of meetings.”

However, Arzaga noted that the biggest challenge for people would actually be a perspective shift from being able to be fully funded to now having a cap.

“Given the fact that clubs are funded by students and the changes in student enrollment we found ourselves in years of difficult financial situations in being able to fund club events to the fullest, … but believe leaders can rise to the occasion,” stated Arzaga.

As fundraising becomes a focal point for clubs, leaders spoke about their joys and concerns regarding how they are tackling it.

Olivia Sagarang, president of O’hana Club, explained that because of this new component it would have been nice to know about the policy as early as possible, so they could have fundraised over the summer.

However O’hana just recently hosted a fundraising event called “Aloha Thursdays,” and Sagarang feels gratitude toward the policy, “We get to keep what [money] we make now of the signature event if there is profit, whereas before it just went back to ASSP.”

PICCA created a GoFundMe which was initially halted by SPU, but has been recently deemed acceptable and is now live as a fundraiser. Salvea explained they also reached out to admissions, are creating advertising ploys, and were planning to send soliciting packages to larger companies.

In addition, due to the requirement of approval by three separate organizations, funding is limited and clubs are working off of whatever money is currently in the budget when they arrive to senate, which does not include their fundraising.

According to Arzaga, only four events would be able to be fully funded per year, and it was noted in a previous interview with PICCA that only $875 is left in the winter club budget
With at least two proposals on their way, there is no way to provide the requested amount for groups without dipping into the spring quarter’s budget, denying requests or significantly lowering the approved funding.

“The funds available are first come, first serve, and this will prove difficult for smaller clubs to put on events, or even for larger ones to have enough resources to keep theirs going … it could keep clubs from getting deserved representation,” stated Lott

Similarly, Salvea said that, “clubs are trying to rush to get in proposals without having a full picture just because of the time crunch.”

“It really did incite fear in all of us to think ‘We are not going to get funded for this, … do they even have the resources to fund us?’ … There is a pressure on us and even more so on new clubs,” remarked Sagarang.

Although Arzaga explained that they did try to bring student insight towards the policy, a brand new set of guidelines created a time of change and adaptation in which nobody else had to experience before.

“Jacob has a good idea of what he is trying to do but it is just unfortunate that we are test samples,” stated Salvea of PICCA

Sagarang used similar language, saying, “It’s just unfortunate to be the guinea pigs.”

Sagaran and Salvea were also both consulted about the policy before its public release and were appreciative that Arzaga did seem to hear them and deal with their concerns.

Lott, who was not consulted before hand, stated that, “there are some great opportunities that could bring people of SPU together,” but, “the policy has already discouraged the Black Student Union from holding a signature event, … there are regulations in place that are hindering it.”

Several other leaders and members of clubs were reached out to for comment or interview about the new policy, with little to no reply, with President Erin Vogt of the Falconette Club declining to comment.

Arzaga expressed that he was encouraged by the doors that could potentially be opened at SPU due to the policy.

Though it will take a few years to see any benefits, he thinks once clubs have opportunity to build up their own pool of money people will start seeing really new and exciting things from clubs, but the specifics of remain to be seen.