Lecture Fund Bolstered By GUSA Financing
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 02:10
After turning to the Georgetown University Student Association for financing last March, the Georgetown University Lecture Fund has experienced a $16,233 increase in funding this year.
The group had previously been funded by the Student Activities Commission since 2008.
“We made the switch because we wanted to ensure that more students and student groups could get as much funding as possible for the fantastic speakers they’d like to bring in a matter that is straightforward and more transparent,” Lecture Fund Vice Chair of Internal Affairs Chris Mulrooney (COL ’14) said.
This year, GUSA allocated $60,000 in one lump sum to the Lecture Fund — a 37-percent increase from last year’s budget under SAC — and will continue to earmark funds for the group annually. Last year, SAC granted the Lecture Fund a total of $43,767 on an event-by-event basis.
The prior process for funding speaker events through SAC was confusing, and it was difficult to organize events with non-SAC groups, according to Mulrooney.
Aanika Patel (SFS ’13), Lecture Fund vice chair for external affairs, agreed.
“[Under SAC,] I would start making the motions for getting the contract and getting good sponsors for an event, and eventually, we would have to cancel because we just didn’t have the funding,” she said. “Now that GUSA gives us this lump sum for the entire year, it makes planning, at least from my perspective, a lot easier.”
Despite the increase in funding, the $60,000 total still falls $145,000 short of the Lecture Fund’s $205,000 request for this academic year. Because of scarce monetary resources, members must negotiate with speakers to lower prices.
“Given that in a typical year we organize or oversee in excess of 50 speaking events, we stretch this budget extremely far,” Lecture Fund Chair Sean Keady (SFS ’13) said.
According to Patel, the Lecture Fund aims to keep the cost of all events under $5,000.
“A lot of times speakers and agents will give you the runaround,” Patel said. “We don’t have a great budget, so it’s really presenting the organization and Georgetown in a way that makes speakers want to come here for more than just that check they’re going to get in the mail afterward.”
To accommodate expensive speakers, the Lecture Fund collaborates with other organizations to finance and plan events. One such source of support is the Karl F. Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy, which helped fund the audiovisual components for an Oct. 9 event featuring Gary Perlin, chief financial cfficer of the Capital One Financial Corp.
“I was pleased with the type of outreach and the level of professionalism the Lecture Fund students exhibited. I am a big fan of co-sponsorship, especially when we can connect communities and distribute the burden of cost and management,” Program Counselor Rosaelena O’Neil said. “I look forward to working with them again.”
This year, the Lecture Fund aims to maximize the number of students it impacts through a calendar of diverse events.
“My goal for this year is to try to reach as many students as possible with a wide variety of events that appeal to everyone,” Keady said. “And that doesn’t mean big, huge famous people. That means speakers that cater to individual interests.”
Last year, the Lecture Fund sponsored 64 speaker events, up from a total of 50 events in the 2010-2011 academic year, and it organized 17 of those 64 events independently. According to Mulrooney, the group aims to organize at least 60 events this year and has already held 17 of 22 events planned for this semester, including the appearances of Perlin, actress Rosario Dawson and Doug Ellin, the creator of the HBO television show “Entourage.”