In a close 8-7 vote, the Student Finance Board (SFB) funded $2,417 of a $4,541 request from the Dance Team to attend the College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship in Walt Disney World from Jan. 14 to 17.
The board also fully funded the Dance Team’s $1,250 request for a professional choreographer to put together a routine and music for the team in a 13-1-1 vote at SFB’s Dec. 1 meeting.
Marcella Inserra, Dance Team captain, read a letter in support of the team’s request to go to the competition at the meeting. The letter outlined the team’s accomplishments, including performing at College athletic events and at the TCNJ Talent Show. She also passed around a scrapbook that included photos from the team’s events.
Total expenses for the trip came to $11,498 for the 19-member team to attend. Inserra explained that only 14 members compete at any one time but because of possible injuries and because every member of the team attends practice, the Dance Team wants to take the entire group.
By the group’s proposal, team members would pay $366 toward the cost of the trip, covering the cost of registration, room and costumes. This left the board with the airfare costs at $239 each.
But with only $6,767 in the conference request line, board members were wary of the trip’s price tag.
Craig Gross, chairperson, said he would add some money to the conference line, most likely $5,000, and asked the board to keep that in mind during its discussions.
While the board agreed that the personal contribution had to be raised, it was split as to how much. Numbers offered during the discussion ranged from $525 to $400, with most agreeing to something in the range of $450 to $500 per person.
“We have to look at it like we did the Flag Football request,” Kristofer Disharoon, senior representative, said, referring to the large personal contribution that organization had to make. “For every $25 we raise the personal contribution, we save $500.”
But the board generally agreed that unlike other sports organizations that go away to compete, the Dance Team does provide a valuable service to the College.
“This organization provides service to the College by performing at major athletic events,” Gross said. “They provide campus with service consistently.”
“This is tangible,” Jon Borst, sophomore representative, said about the experience the team would bring back. “They are a valued resource this school draws upon.”
But Borst also criticized the board’s allocation of funds among various lines. He argued that multicultural requests are typically fully funded due to the more than $32,000 in that line, while conference requests are more contentious even when the board thinks they are worthwhile.
“I don’t think we should only give this club $2,000 when we’re sending 19 people,” Mary Ennis, assistant chairperson, said. She added that other clubs, like the Bowling Club, received similar amounts of funds for less people.
After a failed 5-8 vote for a personal contribution of $500, the proposal for a $475 contribution per person passed 8-7.
The team’s request for its choreographer was less contentious. The team admitted it had already hired the choreographer and committed to spending the money, a practice upon which the board usually frowns.
But Gross urged the board not to hold that against the team because he and Ennis had to discuss the request, delaying its addition to the agenda. He said that the team had already committed to a payment plan with its choreographer, and was asking for assistance from the board to ease the burden on each member.
The board generally agreed that the choreographer was a worthwhile expense for the team.
“Considering all they give to the College, I think they deserve it,” Julia Pratt, director of communications, said.
The board also funded two other requests. The French Club received $265 by a vote of 12-3 for a Dec. 2 soiree to relieve stress at the end of the semester and promote the organization as well as French culture.
By a vote of 12-2-2, CaribSA, the Caribbean Student Association, received $225 for a deejay at a Dec. 9 event to play Caribbean music and give students a chance to mingle and relax before exams begin.