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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Senate Considers proposal to Strengthen Clubs Involvement in the Community

On Sept. 19, during their weekly meeting, senators discussed three new proposed requirements that every club must abide by in order to receive funding.

There was much debate and Community Senate has still yet to decide whether the new allocation will be approved.

According to senior Mallory Malkin, the president of Campus Activities Board (CAB), the only recent Senate-imposed requirement for clubs is that each club should have already used at least one fourth of its budget by the end of the first semester, or its budget will be cut. This is to ensure that clubs remain active year round.

Yet, last year, three new club requirements were proposed by Adrienne Craig, the former student activities coordinator.

Part A of the proposal is that each club must participate in a campus-wide event. Part B, which seems to be the most controversial, is that each club must participate in a community service activity each year. And part C is that each club must co-sponsor one of their events with another club.

“Part A lists possibilities for clubs to participate in, like Halloween Fest and Serendipity, but they also list that International Club cannot count anything they do for International Week, a campus-wide event, and CAB cannot count Serendipity as a campus-wide event,” said senior Communications Coordinator Jeremy Bante. “What I read between the lines is that the requirements are asking these clubs to do something else that they were not set up to do, and it’s inappropriate.”

Part A puts a burden on those who are already contributing to the community, yet it is also there to make inactive clubs contribute more.

“We are not trying to restrict the number of clubs through this legislation; rather we are attempting to improve the clubs that exist,” said senior Kass James, the Inter-Club Council (ICC) weekly chair, and a Steering Committee member. “There are clubs that do little more than have small social gatherings and are not very responsible with their budgets.

Senior Jai Dave, who is the representative for the day student population, said that the student activities fee comes from every single student’s tuition.

“It’s not really Guilford’s money; it’s our money,” said Dave. “It comes out of our tuition payments which is why it’s important that each club contributes to the larger community.”

At the meeting, senators expressed that the community service requirement is appropriate to the Guilford culture.

“Since service is a major part of Guilford’s values, it does not seem to me like we are overstepping our bounds by asking our clubs to participate in our service culture,” said senior Katie Yow, the representative for Awareness Clubs. “It is not unreasonable to ask them to give something back to the community. Community service is quite possibly the least offensive thing we can ask for.”

However, some have expressed that forcing people to do community service might make the experience meaningless.

“If service is mandatory some clubs would just do a little something to qualify but their hearts are really not into it,” said Jason Meisner, junior class representative, “They wouldn’t be as concerned with helping the community.”

Concerns regarding clubs who have a revolving door policy were raised at the meeting. In many clubs, if you attend a meeting once you are considered a member and you do not have to go ever again.

“It is hard for clubs like Bowling Club, who have a revolving door policy and their group membership changes constantly, to get the group together and work on a community service project,” said Meisner.

“How can they hold the whole club accountable when they don’t have regular members?” said senior Lee Cornett, a member of Steering Committee and the first-year liaison.

A possibility to solving this problem is making sure each club has a group of committed members who are obligated to attend meetings.

“That will make clubs more exclusive and that is against what we are trying to accomplish with the community service requirement,” said Cornett. “I don’t think anybody has brought up that option because it’s not Guilford appropriate.”

Yow is also a member of the Inter-Club Council (ICC), which might be the body that will approve community service if this allocation gets passed.

“Since we don’t like the idea of forcing people to do service, ICC would help each club design a service project that club members can apply their interests to so it can be a meaningful experience for them,” said Yow.

Meisner said that many at the meeting were concerned that in the cases where clubs do not have a consistent group of people, “all the work would be placed on the executives of the club.”

Some have also expressed worries that clubs that are less organized, especially those with weak leadership might not be able to fulfill part B of the requirement.

“The implementation of this requirement would be to make sure that organizations have the appropriate structure to be able to contribute to the campus,” said Malkin.

“We are not setting this up so that clubs will fail and we are not setting this up to have fewer clubs or to get rid of any clubs,” said James. “We are setting this up so that clubs are made more responsible for their actions, and that they are forced to have good leaders.”

“If you are already in a position of leadership then you should be able to handle one more project,” said Yow. “Especially since it’s only one and there aren’t even a set number of required hours.”

The Senate needs to decide if part B will apply to those who are already involved in community service, or whether it will only apply to clubs that use their funds but don’t give back to the Guilford community.

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