Student organizations and clubs could be in for a shock when they inquire about the price of on-campus room reservations for programs and activities.
In the past, the Office of Student Activities has offered a 50 percent discount to student organizations looking to hold an event on campus. Program costs, which include room reservations and lighting, can quickly add up to a significant amount. Many of the clubs on campus have limited funding, and the discount helped to lessen the financial burden of holding an event.
Because of extra, more costly programming last semester, however, the Office of Student Activities is faced with the decision whether or not to keep the 50 percent discount. The office is completing a financial review of last semester to assess the expenses associated with the discount.
Rita Calicat, director of Student Activities, emphasized that no decision has been made yet. During student planning meetings, the estimated full cost of a program is given, with the knowledge that appropriate discounts will be applied after the review is completed.
In the meantime, it is suggested that student organizations review the estimates provided to them so that they can plan their finances accordingly.
“As more student groups are programming and as the programs become more sophisticated, the costs rise,” said Calicat. “We want to make sure that we will be able to support the many requests that student groups present and stay within the established budget for this program.”
In budgeting for a program or event, the most crucial information can be the greatest expense – which is usually the cost associated with holding the event on campus. Senior Claire Herman, a Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow for Hillel in Philadelphia, has benefited several times in the past from the discount. The discount has helped her organization to maximize their budget so that they could offer a wider variety of programs on campus.
“There are a number of costs associated with an event and a room rental is definitely at the top of the list. Sometimes the room rental cost can be the greatest expense and it is imperative to know the cost when allocating resources,” Herman said.
Assaf Holtzman, president of Temple University College Democrats agreed. Last semester he helped to organize two events during election season and became acquainted with the process of holding programs on campus.
“Knowing the exact price is very important, especially to cash-strapped organizations. Most organizations work on tight budgets and don’t have room for any unexpected charges,” Holtzman said.
Most organizations would agree that students are more inclined to attend programs if they do not have to travel to the location. Holtzman believes holding events on campus is vital to their success.
On-campus events and programs also encourage members of the organization to help plan and coordinate.
“Having events on campus is more convenient and conducive to keeping the group alive and closely knit,” said Shahid Mohiuddin, president of the Muslim Student Association.
Last semester, Mohiuddin helped to plan events for Ramadan and held a Fast-a-Thon open to all students. He said that his organization “caters primarily to the campus community,” so holding events on campus is the easiest and most convenient way to reach students.
Still, student organizations can find out the logistics of the finances regarding their programming ideas during informational meetings. Fund-raising prior to the event is one way to help decrease costs.
Calicat explained that “we absolutely encourage student groups to program on campus and will continue to do everything that we can to support that programming.”
Jessica Cohen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.