By KATIE McHUGH
Assistant Features Editor
The Allegheny Student Government buckled down on the Greek funding guidelines after denying funds for Alpha Chi Omega’s annual Man of the Year competition, a philanthropic event that raises money for Women’s Services in Meadville.
“That’s something we do every year because it’s our philanthropy for our chapter,” said Alpha Chi Omega President Michelina Campanella, ’12. “When we got the money from ASG, we raised more money because we had more things to sell. We saved that money throughout the semester, and then at the end of the semester, everything we made went to Women’s Services.”
Alpha Chi’s current budget structure leaves no room for fundraising, Campanella explained.
“Our fundraising budget is zero. We don’t have a budget,” she said.
Campanella is reluctant to raise chapter dues to raise additional revenues.
“We don’t want to raise dues, because I think people have a negative image of Greek life because you have to pay dues to join, so they think it’s exclusive,” she said. “We try to make it affordable as possible.”
Although their event fits the philanthropic guidelines and they successfully appealed for $400 for last year’s competition, Alpha Chi’s history of asking for funds annually to support Man of the Year led to the denial of their request.
“They’ve come to us for years and asked for money for the Man of the Year event,” said ASG Financial Controller Kami Forgie, ’12. “What the committee had expressed was if it’s their largest event of the year, then they should budget for it. They said they don’t budget any of their sorority money for this event.”
Greek life organizations fall under the jurisdiction of the Interfraternity Council or Panhellenic Council. They are not officially recognized under ASG, which makes funding allocation uncertain. As a result, ASG passed the Greek funding guidelines in January 2011.
“There was a little bit of confusion over the relationship between ASG and Greek organizations and funding,” said Forgie. “So we decided to have a committee to make up Greek guidelines. All of Panhel and IFC were aware of this and able to speak their minds on it. That was just the first time this year that it’s been brought up.”
Currently, the guidelines state ASG may allocate funding to a Greek organization should an unexpected budget shortfall occur. They also state that ASG will not commit to annually funding any events, nor should any organization expect to receive funding every year for an annual event.
Additional funds caused Greek life organizations to restructure their budgets. Last year, the Dean of Students Office set aside specific funds for Greek organizations to defray the rising costs of alcohol-free social events for current brothers and sisters.
“[IFC and Panhellenic Councils] got each [Greek] organization $450 to use for social events for 2010-2011 academic year,” said IFC Vice President Robert Mortimer, ’12, in an e-mail.
The college, however, asked each department to tighten its budget, stripping Greek life of the new funds. Other Greek organizations also appealed to ASG for funding after the new social budget was taken away, with mixed results.
Phi Delta Theta received money from ASG during the spring semester, after the new guidelines were passed, for t-shirts to sell for their annual Battle of the Bands philanthropic event to raise money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Although he’s grateful for their financial help, Mortimer feels ASG resists handing out money to organizations it does not officially recognize.
“The one place we do run into funding problems with ASG, however, lies within the fact that we are considered an “exclusive” organization,” he said in an e-mail. “Due to this, we generally meet more resistance in obtaining money, even for philanthropic events.”
Forgie expressed concerns about ASG contributing funds to each Greek organization’s annual philanthropic event.
“Essentially, if we started paying for a bunch of different things, it would be us paying for a sorority or fraternity, which are not recognized by ASG,” she said. “They are not under ASG in any way, shape, or form.”
Should a fraternity or sorority host a philanthropic event open to the entire student community, ASG will consider lending its financial support if asked.
“We do support them in certain things, but thing is, the student activities fee is for every student,” said Forgie.
Despite this, Campanella feels Alpha Chi’s request is justifiable, citing Greek life’s contributions to the college.
“Greek life does a lot for the campus. But all the other groups on campus, they don’t pay dues and they get all this money from the college to do really great things,” she said. “So we don’t really have that same opportunity to do those awesome things because we’re so limited.”