The $7,000 budget cut for Greek Life at the University of Rhode Island for next year is going to be a challenge for the student organization, according to the leaders of the Interfraternity Council.
Student Senate cut the budgets for the Greek Week event of both the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Association (Panhel) at URI from $8,500 each to $5,000 each for next year, with an additional $1,700 for “Freek Day” and fall beach day.
Ryan Buck, president of Student Senate and former finance chair, said the budget was cut to improve communication between senate, IFC and Panhel. “With this cut, it was more to make sure that we reopen communication between the two groups, just to make sure everything is running smoothly and the activities tax is being well utilized,” Buck said.
Around 23 percent of campus is affiliated with a Greek Life organization and Buck said that during budgeting, the finance committee had the remainder of the student body in mind.
“The way I looked at it, and the way my finance committee looked at it during budgeting, is that it is affecting a large portion of campus,” said Buck, “but a lot for time, it was that worry of what about the other percentage of campus that isn’t Greek that isn’t seeing the benefit of these programs.”
JT Oldham, president-elect of IFC, said he understands why the budget was cut, but it does present Greek Life with a new challenge for the upcoming year.
“Senate has a set of standards when it comes to funding. It comes down to the marketing, the promoting, the planning,” he said, “they brought in different factors that we weren’t meeting, and don’t get me wrong, we weren’t meeting them. But again, it’s one-fourth of the university and it’s a big chunk. It’s a challenge and we’re going to get through it.”
The members of IFC said that despite popular belief, Greek Week is very much an inclusive event.
“I have friends that aren’t in Greek Life that continue to go to the big events like lip sync and big events in the Keaney gym,” said IFC Vice President-Elect Anthony Rampone. “I think it’s really beneficial to get more people from the university to go and I don’t think Student Senate sees that representation as much.”
According to Oldham, Greek Life asks for money from senate because the money that generates from individual chapters doesn’t cover all expenditures.
“It comes down to a point where it seems like a lot, but when you’re in Greek Life, it’s expensive,” Oldham said. “I think it’s really helping us out with our long-term goals and just making sure we’re a sustainable group.”
On average, about 70 men and 180 women affiliate with each fraternity and sorority on campus. Dues, paid each semester, can range anywhere from $300 to $500 for fraternities, and $600 to $800 for sororities. In some cases, women can be paying up to $1,000 each semester to affiliate with a sorority, according to Oldham.
“They’re already fundraising so much for Habitat for Humanity and putting their resources towards other things, it would kind of be a burden for them to actually pay thousands of dollars for Greek Week,” said Rampone. The funding that Greek Life gets for Greek week covers security, water, food and services for facilities like Boss Ice Arena.
Overall, Greek Life gets a smaller portion of the funding from student senate compared to other student organizations on campus. The student organization funded the most money by senate is the Student Entertainment Committee, totaling over $430,000 for next year.