For the past two years, MCSG’s Community Chest program has afforded students not affiliated with any official organization the chance to fund their own projects with money from the student activity fee. However, two years into this program many students are still not aware of this opportunity.
“Basically it’s this fund that people can apply to host events on campus,” said Rothin Datta ’16, Vice President of MCSG and chair of the Student Services and Relations Commitee (SSRC). “Right now student orgs take all the money and that’s just kind of unfair.”
The SSRC is the the committee in charge of this operation. “We have around $10,000 in the pot.” Datta said.
Anyone can apply and there are just a few stipulations: 1. It must benefit everyone on campus, 2. It must be cool/fun/etc. 3. The Community Chest application, which consists of five short answer questions, must be completed.
“I’m always disappointed with how few people apply because I think it’s such an awesome opportunity,” Datta said.
Out of the students who do apply, almost no one gets turned away. Most of the student events made possible through the Community Chest have been declared huge successes.
“We’ve got a request for people who just wanna do some de-stress stuff for finals – cute projects like that,” Datta said.
Last year, the Community Chest funded a project called the CommuniTree. “It was where people could write out struggles they’re having on campus and put them into this little box and this group would waterproof them and hang them up on this tree,” Datta said.
Rick Beckel ’14 used Community Chest money to store students’ bikes for the winter. Another student brought local rap artists to 10K for a concert.
This year Josie Ahrens ’14 used some of the money to plan an info session on renters’ rights for upperclassmen living off campus.
“Mac students who live off campus are renting for the first time and might not be aware of their rights and responsibilities they have as renters or tenants,” Ahrens said.
The Community Chest helped Ahrens inform them. She hopes this panel will become a recurring event to combat the huge need she sees for students to be educated on housing issues. Unfortunately, the Community Chest only funds one-time events so she will have to find another source of funding.
“I think the biggest downfall of the Community Chest is that most students don’t know about it,” Ahrens said. “I think the community chest is a great piece of MCSG because it allows students who aren’t in an org or in the know to host events on campus that matter to them and that are exciting.”
Bailey Rehnberg ’14 used the Community Chest last year to create Little Scots, which has now become a chartered organization. Rehnberg paired local girls with Macalester athletes in a mentoring program designed to empower females and give them positive role models.
“This year we have 60 athletes and 60 girls in it, so 120 total. And then their families are super involved,” Rehnberg said. “That’s been more than I could ask for, and that’s gonna continue after I’m gone is a credit to all the amazing women that are in the program.”
Rehnberg’s advice to anyone wanting to apply to the Community Chest in the future is to persevere.
“There’s a lot of people on this campus that are very supportive and want to make ideas happen,” Rehnberg said. “If you just keep going back, keep looking for your way in, you can find it.”