In Support of Club Sports

By JOHN GOSSELIN

I would like to respond to the op-ed published in The Campus this week concerning the club sports bill. This bill allowed students to create new club sports through a process involving the Student Organization Oversight Committee (SOOC). I am currently the Atwater Commons Senator and a member of SOOC.

I welcome this opportunity to take the discussion to the student body more directly and receive feedback on what we passed with the intent of addressing any criticism by proposing revisions to the bill. Already, I have responded to people who told me they felt the vote was rushed and unfair by proposing a bylaws change designed to prevent such votes from happening in the future. I also want to have a discussion on ways to pay for the bill we passed and make the relevant proposals.

First, the SGA Senate and Finance Committee should look at their books and find places to improve allocations. SGA Treasurer Peter Dykeman-Bermingham, a contributor of last week’s op-ed, shared that the SGA is on course to run a deficit, so SGA should find programs that have outlived their usefulness and end them.

Second, several colleges assess separate activity fees for club sports, given the high per capita cost of these sports. Most club sport teams already require some kind of out-of-pocket dues in practice, so it only makes sense to create a more official and fair system.

Third, we should help the administration support club sports. Middlebury is a wealthy institution with successful alumni. I am sure we, and the administration, can work together to find a donor to support club sports with an endowment. Going forward, I would be interested in working with people to make progress on this possibility.

Fourth, we should shift our financial model from the current allocations model to an events-based allocations model. Currently, many organizations on campus have money left over at the end of the year, which rolls over. This money is never used by students. Changing our allocations model will allow money to be spent more efficiently so that we use as much of it as possible. An events-based allocation model would have student organizations operate by making more new money requests than they have in the past. This proposal, due to its complexity and relationship to the budgeting process, would need to be implemented in the 2019-2020 school year, not next year.

Something SGA mentions whenever we brainstorm ideas is to bridge the student – athlete divide. Club sports are, by definition, in between intramural opportunities and intense varsity sports. The passed proposal takes concrete steps to bridge this divide and bring our community closer together through the shared experience of athletics. With it, ambitious students will be able to add valuable teams to the College community that will fill a current gap in the social life here. Please also go online to find a longer version of this article. Thank you for reading.

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In Support of Club Sports