Allocations Board promoted the idea of collaborative events between clubs in an email to club leaders on Wednesday, Jan. 20th. In this email, Millie Wu ’18, A-Board Chair, indicated that these types of events would receive a larger amount of consideration during the upcoming marathon session. “If you request for collaboration events during this regular marathon in Spring 2016, you are much more likely to receive funding from A-Board,” wrote Wu.
Collaborative events are single events run by two or more clubs. They can be interdisciplinary events, meaning that two clubs with different purposes work together on an event. They can also be the result of similar clubs combining their efforts to put on a single large event rather than two separate events. David Herbstritt ’17, Vice President of the Student Union, cited two reasons for the push towards collaborative events. “Our goals have largely been to simultaneously save money and build a greater sense of community. If clubs…hold joint events, the money that they are allocated will hopefully reach a wider audience,” wrote Herbstritt in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.
The chair of the Senate Club Support Committee, Lorenzo Finamore ’18, reiterated Herbstritt’s sentiment for collaboration: “I think at Brandeis we have a bit of a problem when groups get split up. That can have the effect of making our campus divided.”
Finamore believes that collaborative events will spark change in the way students from different clubs interact with each other. “This is to change campus culture, to get people to know each other, to get people to be more interested in other things and to utilize resources that they might not know exist,” said Finamore.
According to members of the Student Union, collaborative events are the beginning of a long term club reorganization process. The Senate Club Support Committee plans to take the lead on the endeavor. Nathan Greess, 2019 Senator and Club Support Committee member, is taking charge of an ad hoc subcommittee to oversee changes to club organization. “One of the biggest concerns for us it the way that we’re funding clubs,” said Greess.
Clubs are an integral aspect of campus life and funding them is an essential function of the union. Greess is concerned with A-Board’s ability to distinguish between clubs for the purpose of funding. Occasionally two separate clubs will propose similar activities and or events to A-Board. “What ends up happening is we’re giving a little bit of money to two different [clubs] and neither of them have enough money to do what they want to do. That doesn’t make anyone happy,” said Greess.
Greess hopes that reorganization will improve the distribution of funding amongst clubs. He plans to work with other members of the union to implement changes over the next few semesters. Greess feels that the first step is making sure that the Student Union has up-to-date information on over 260 clubs. “We have a huge, long spreadsheet of all of the different clubs and we have to make sure they have constitutions so we can figure out what they’re actually doing,” said Greess.
Next, Greess plans to weed out inactive clubs. He also plans to look at the constitutions in order to find any clear overlaps. Greess acknowledges that overlapping missions would be the fault of the Student Union in the first place. Part of their job is preventing the creation of identical clubs. “The problem is [that] there is no institutional memory because everyone cycles out after four years,” said Greess.
According to Greess, the next step would be to look into new organizational models. One of the most effective models has been that of the Waltham Group. Grady Ward ’16, Representative to the Board of Trustees, is a proponent of this idea. “There is certainly something to be said for the constantly discussed idea of an ‘umbrella organization,’ a model which has worked well within club sports, and attempts to better facilitate an equitable funding process, where A-Board makes large scale funding choices which are then divided between clubs by the clubs themselves,” wrote Ward in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.
Greess stated that the re-organizational effort is a long-term project. As such, the changes will be gradual. “We’re trying to figure out the best way to aid clubs,” said Greess.