RSOs left with “basically no money” following fundraising rule change

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Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) rely heavily on fundraising to support their activities throughout the year, but have been restricted from one of their go-to fundraising tools, food sales.

Program Coordinator Alexander Maxwell, who oversees RSOs in the Office of Student Engagement, said RSOs are allowed to fundraise, but, as a result of additional regulations in place to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, their options have been limited.

 Any fold sold cannot be homemade, per the new regulations.

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Registered Student Organizations are welcome and encouraged to fundraise for their events, programs, and other needs they have,” Maxwell said. “Due to health and safety concerns, we ask that students do not sell food items they prepare themselves.”

If RSOs want to sell food for a fundraiser the food has to be pre-packaged and store bought, Maxwell said.

The RSO handbook on page 22 states “No product (food, promotional items, apparel, etc.) may be sold at or near the Banterra Center, Saluki Stadium, and the Student Center that would compete with a concession contract or retail sales… Per SIUC’s agreement with Pepsi MidAmerica, all beverages must be Pepsi products, including bottled water,”

These rules have severely limited what RSOs can do in terms of fundraising.

According to Luis Barrera, the president of the American Sign Language Club (ASL) ASL is low in funds because of the fundraising rules put in place because of COVID-19.

“We wanted to do a big sale during the month of November and October like you know, spooky treats. But with the pandemic, we’re not able to do that.” Barrera said. “It’s been hard to find out what to really fundraise. Right now we basically have no money, you know, like, $64. Maybe less than that.”

Barrera said the ASL club is still looking for other fundraising avenues, as other issues  have also limited their options, such as there being only three approved spaces for hosting events, being required to buy Pepsi products and having to return leftover grant money.

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Yulissa Lucha Miron, the treasurer of the Latino Cultural Association (LCA), said the purpose of LCA is to bring together different Latino groups and share their culture.

“The purpose is to provide students with more cultural heritage since everyone’s away from home, and have those things that people are used to back home, and be able to also make new friends and understand other cultural histories,” Lucha Miron said.

LCA is able to host fundraisers, but their items have to be approved by the University..

“There’s certain rules we have to follow. And [it] also depends on what kind of fundraiser it is. So fundraisers need approval on certain things and others,” Lucha Miron said.

Nathan Diazleal, the president of AnimeKai, said his RSO is about bringing together people that are interested in anime. Diazleal said, in the past, their main form of fundraising was selling homemade cookies around the holidays.

“Before COVID, we used to bake cookies on Valentine’s Day for Halloween things like that,” Diazleal said.

According to Diazleal, since COVID-19 has been around and the fundraising criteria has been changed to follow safety guidelines, it has put a hold on what RSOs can do fundraising wise.

“We mostly do like the group raise kind of food fundraisers, but the ones that we do miss doing are definitely like the bake sales.” Diazleal said. “You know, going to the store, buying pre-packaged food and selling it to them doesn’t make that much sense. It’s a lot more fun to make yourself,”

Diazleal said selling pre-packaged food to students does not really attract attention, whereas homemade food appeals to more people.

AnimeKai , LCA and ASL Clubare all trying to work within the guidelines regarding fundraising, but it’s been difficult to be successful. 

“Being able to raise money, it definitely gives you a little bit more sway, and a better ground to make certain decisions. Diazleal said. “It kind of opens the door for more fun opportunities.” 

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram at @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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