ASSU offers subsidies for dorm USC trips despite University resistance

Oct. 31, 2011, 2:05 a.m.

The ASSU has offered to subsidize residence-financed trips to Saturday’s football game at the University of Southern California (USC) last weekend. Students’ whose trips, which were individually organized, or not officially financed by residences, are not eligible for ASSU sponsorship.

ASSU Senator Ben Laufer ’12 wrote in an email to The Daily that the ASSU’s final decision not to directly sponsor the game came about after much deliberation with Nanci Howe, director of Student Activities and Leadership.

“We were told in an email that ‘neither the University nor ASSU should promote this trip as it implies a level of endorsement that the University is unwilling to make. You should not use ASSU or the University email lists to promote this trip,’” Laufer told The Daily.

Laufer said that even when the package program FanTravel offered to promote itself on behalf of the University and ASSU–without any liability to the University or ASSU–the University turned down the offer, leaving FanTravel to promote its packages on Facebook.

FanTravel offered students a range of packages including round-trip transportation, food, game tickets and accommodations.

Laufer said before the game that the lack of University-sponsored travel packages like those offered by FanTravel would negatively affect student attendance.

“I think a mass FanTravel caravan would have been spectacular,” Laufer said. “Certainly the University’s decision has had a negative impact on the total number of students going to the game because it made it difficult for FanTravel to advertise to the student body.”

According to Laufer, the Undergraduate Senate ultimately contributed $2,000 to sponsor tickets. ASSU Vice President Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ’13 confirmed to The Daily that ASSU President Michael Cruz ’12 also gave $500 from his stipend toward subsidizing dorms and other residences that individually organized trips. The ASSU will be offering a $10 rebate to the first 250 students with proof of purchase of a ticket to the game, Laufer said.

Elijah Frazier ’12, a residence assistant (RA) for Suites, collaborated with staff from Mirrielees to subsidize transportation to and from the game, the game ticket price and hotel accommodations for the two residences. Residents paid $30 and non-residents paid $50.

Frazier, who also serves on the ASSU Community Board, said that leaving coordination to residences helped foster a greater sense of dorm community. He added that it provided residences the opportunity to lower individual students’ costs.

Marcus Jamison ’12, a Crothers RA, said that while University sponsorship would probably have increased the number of attendees, the decision to let residences subsidize and coordinate could also have had a positive effect on attendance.

Crothers residents paid $80 for transportation, ticket and hotel accommodations. Students who handled their own accommodations paid $70.

Crothers ultimately allocated $3,500 total for the trip, said Jamison. Frazier said he did not have the final cost for Suites and Mirrielees available at the time of publication.

David Bell ’14, a resident of Kimball, is one of many students who drove to USC with friends because their dorms did not sponsor a trip. Bell expressed disappointment in the lack of University sponsored trips in a Facebook message to The Daily on Sunday.

“I’m probably not alone in saying that I was waiting on Stanford to unveil some subsidized deal for getting to the game and was disappointed when I didn’t hear of anything,” Bell said. “Fortunately, I was able to work it out through a friend, but otherwise I probably would not have gone–it would have been too expensive.”

However, Grant Beard ’14 said that while school-wide sponsorship would have been desirable and helpful to dorms that lacked adequate funds to support subsidies, he still thought it was valuable that individual dorms had planned the trips themselves.

Beard added that if direct sponsorship were not possible, students would have welcomed a school-wide viewing in Stanford Stadium.

Ileana Najarro is the Managing Editor of News at The Stanford Daily. She previously worked as a News Desk Editor and Staff Writer.

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