MCSG members ‘concerned’ about org overlap

By Kyle Coombs

The Student Organization Committee (SOC) has approved the charters for eight student organizations, and only one organization has disbanded since the start of the school year, which is worrying some members of Macalester College Student Government (MCSG). The newest organizations are Mac Dagorhir, Young Americans for Liberty, The Watchtower, No Labels, Macalester’s Multicultural Munchies: Food Appreciation Troupe (MMMFAT), Mac Consulting Group, Mac Global Health and J Street U, said SOC chair Natalie Pavlatos ’12. Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) chair Mac McCreary ’12 said that this high number of new orgs could stress the student budget. Each organization receives $100 in flexi-dollars upon reception of its charter whether or not its members decide to create a budget and ask for more money. “I’ve been a little uneasy about it,” McCreary said. “[The flexi-dollars] doesn’t include the funds we might be asked for.” Before the SOC votes on a charter, McCreary said, the committee asks organization leaders how much money they anticipate needing for activities. Jesse Horwitz ‘13, Vice President of MCSG and Chair of the Student Services and Relations Committee (SSRC), said that in addition to budget concerns, the student body might not be large enough to support some organizations. There are 120 student organizations (with a few more awaiting charter votes), roughly 1900 students on campus and a 10-student minimum to each organization, he said. “If every org has 10 people,” Horwitz said. “Then ideally two-thirds of people should be in an organization right now.” Since students can participate in more than one organization, he said, less than two-thirds of the student body is involved. At extremes, Horwitz said, membership in multiple organizations could turn into an issue for charters. “I’m concerned with … overlapping memberships,” he said. “Are we just giving the same group of people $100 every week?” Horwitz also noted that membership can be hard to pinpoint. Many organizations claim to have a large number of people on their e-mail list, he said, but in reality a smaller number of members attend each meeting. Multiple organizations claiming minimal attendance might show that there are too many organizations on campus, he said. No Labels is a national, non-partisan organization that encourages political dialogue free of labels and name-calling in order to stimulate progress, said founding board member Jeffrey Garcia ‘14. The charter vote passed 11 to 9. “There seemed to be this idea that No Labels was something akin to MPIRG,” Garcia said. “MPIRG is issue based, while No Labels is very policy based. We work on advancing our platform.” Horwitz said he had issues with the degree of common membership with other campus political organizations. The organization might be serving as a meeting ground between the two organizations, he said. “Maybe the leaders could organize with Mac GOP and Mac Dems and sponsor a non-partisan political dialogue on campus?” he said. Common membership with political organizations stems from the fact that politically active people on campus are extremely interested in promoting political dialogue, Garcia said. He added that the purpose of No Labels is to create a space for political dialogue sponsored by a completely non-partisan group. This is a service not offered anywhere else on campus, he said. “We want to be welcoming to people who don’t label one way or another,” he said. Horwitz said he would like to add some dimension of new membership to student organizations. This could be a charter requirement to bring in students that are not affiliated with other organizations, or more avid recruitment by existing organizations. Recruitment does not extend past the involvement fair at the beginning of the year for many students, he said. “[Organizations] want to get up and running as quickly as possible,” Horwitz said. “They need more of an incentive to go out and get people.”