Event Fund Panel Reaches DecisionBy Zareena Hussain
Over $18,000 from a $50,000 fund set aside to sponsor large campus-wide events has been allocated to sponsor a new "fall festival," intended to be a week-long series of events that focus on cultural awareness and public service.
"It is something MITneeds in the fall," said Kartik M. Mani '00, vice-president of the Class of 2000, who authored the proposal for the series of events. "An event like the fall festival "creates a better sense of community," he said.
Events to take place during the week include an international film series sponsored by the Lecture Series Committee, a mini-International Fair sponsored by the International Students Association, and a day of public service, Mani said.
The week will culminate in a swing dance and concert which will include the combined efforts of the Ballroom Dance Team and other event organizers, said Ryan K. Pierce '99, Undergraduate Associationfloor leader.
Panel holds planning power
The allocation was approved by a funding panel composed of members from the UA, including Pierce, the Association of Student Activities, and the Graduate Student Council. The exact fate of the funds and details of the fall festival continues to rest with event proposers and with members of the original funding panel.
"The funding panel continues to be involved in fall festival planning, especially as we accommodate the schedule to factors such as room and band availability," Pierce said. "Leaders from the individual groups, though, are making most of the decisions regarding their events."
"Among the goals of the funding panel was to allow groups the opportunity to bring their ideas alive, and we're encouraged by the success thus far in that regard," Pierce added.
Currently, all decisions about the fate of the money allocated to the fund are made by the three governing bodies represented by the funding panel, said Van L. Chu '99, ASA president and member of the original funding panel.
Festival is feasible, inclusive
The decision to support the fall festival was based on several factors including the feasibility of the proposal, how well planned the proposal was, and whether such an event would encompass students from all sectors of the MIT community, Chu said.
"We were looking for proposals supported by multiple groups and things that had a wide appeal," Chu said.
In addition, the funding of a large event in which multiple student groups must collaborate fulfills greater goals of a more cohesive student body. "It starts the ball rolling for groups to think about working with other groups," Chu said.
A total of fifteen proposals were submitted by various groups. The proposal chosen was not one single proposal in its entirety but included aspects of other proposals.
"Basically we took fall festival and rolled other things into one," Chu said.
The original proposal included plans for an International Fair and a large concert but other events were later added.
For instance, the Ballroom Dance Team proposed to use the money to offer free swing dance lessons and a organize a swing dance for the MIT community. The swing dance has since been combined with an originally proposed large concert into one event, Pierce said.
In addition, a proposal by LSCto have a semester-long series of films was instead changed to fall only within the week the fall festival takes place, Pierce said.
Students decide fate of funds
All decisions about the fate of the large-event fund and further decisions about the $200,000 allocation from the Provost to student activities have been and will be made solely by students.
While representatives from the Office of Residence Life and Student Life Programs were present at funding decision meetings, it was largely in an advisory role. Richard A. Gresh, a program coordinator in RLSLP who was present at these meetings, said he mainly was there to inform students of space and scheduling considerations regarding the fall festival.
Members of the original funding panel were Brian Schneider G, Carsten D. Hohnke G, and Michael S. Ramming G from the GSC, Pierce; Damien A. Brosnan '01 and Pamela Mukerji '01 from the UA; and Chu and Matthew L. McGann '00 from the ASA.