By JESSICA HALE
Mary Washington’s 83-year tradition of Devil Goat Day was imperiled this week, but last-minute fundraising from concerned student groups has ensured that the event will go on as planned.
At a meeting of the Student Finance Committee on Sunday, Ron Brooks, chair of the committee, announced that the event, which dates back to 1926, lacked funding to provide the $5,990 that organizers said they still needed. The budget for the event is large due to the wide variety of activities and entertainment provided.
Speculations have been raised as to the reasons behind why Class Council did not have the money it needed, including diminished available revenue for student activities. Joseph Mollo, supervisor of the Office of Student Activities and Community Service, stated that this was not the case.
“The issue is the increase in the number of clubs with each one looking to hold events,” Mollo said. “This increase places an increased demand on the budget.”
Thus, the money must be spread more thinly across the increased number of organizations. Because Class Council had not finalized contracts with the businesses that would provide cups, food, and t-shirts for the event, they were forced to do their budget request in two stages. When the second stage arrived and they needed the additional $5,590, the Finance Committee had already allocated nearly all of their money elsewhere.
Brooks said that he “definitely feel[s] strongly about the tradition. It’s really a problem that [the Finance Committee] doesn’t have the funding.”
During the spring hearings, Class Council asked for $4,990 to cover the cost of rides and attractions for Devil Goat Day, planned for April 23, according to Mike Kappert, secretary treasurer of Class Council 2011.
The Finance Committee awarded them their entire request at that time, but was unable to provide the additional $5,990 for which Class Council asked last week to cover the cost of t-shirts, cups, and food for the event. Instead, they were allotted the last bit of money the Finance Committee had: $2,666.
After Class Council’s additional funding still fell short of the required amount, several student organizations pulled together to ensure that one of the oldest traditions at the school was not lost.
Sophomore Cecilia Aquino remembers Devil Goat Day last year as, “a great first impression of this school and how it has maintained its roots despite its 100 year run. It would be unfortunate if the classes after mine could not witness it.”
Class Council was determined to find the additional $3,324 they needed to fill the gap between their requested and awarded dollar amounts, and decided to turn to fellow campus organizations for help.
According to Claire Copps, junior co-chair of Giant Productions, the student-run entertainment committee, Class Council hadn’t even approached them directly before Giant caught wind that the organization was in need.
When asked about Giant’s decision to give a portion of the money awarded to them by the Finance Committee to the Devil Goat Day cause, Copps referred to a sense of cooperation and camaraderie between student organizations.
“If we needed money, they’d give some to us, so we’ll give some to them,” Copps said.
According to Copps, she and the other Giant members didn’t want the event to go without the t-shirts Class Council annually provides to Mary Washington students. For this and other accessory items, Giant Productions has confirmed that it will be donating $1,000 of their allotted money to the cause.
Also on the list of confirmed contributors is Cheap Seats, the organization that brings dollar movies to campus each weekend, as well as special film events once a month. They held a meeting on Monday night and voted unanimously to give all of their extra money back to the Financial Committee, essentially giving it straight to Class Council’s fund for Devil Goat Day.
Mike Kappert, also the co-president of Cheap Seats, predicted that the total amount will be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, capping off the amount Class Council needed to run Devil Goat Day as planned.
“Devil Goat Day was one of the Financial Committee’s top priorities because it’s one of the unique traditions at Mary Washington, and it is one the university wants to preserve,” Kappert said.
Among other things, Class Council has planned for the event to include an inflatable obstacle course, a rock wall, two inflatable Twister games, and airbrush tattoos.
The event also usually provides students with a variety of standard carnival food, such as snow cones, pizza, popcorn, and cotton candy. It is this large production that makes the event attract one of the largest campus crowds all year.