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What unregistered student organizations expect to take away from BU’s Giving Day

“Dog Pound’s not on here. Who am I supposed to give to?” Aaron Fox’s dad asked his son when he received a letter urging him to donate to Boston University Giving Day.

Fox, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the president of BU Dog Pound — the fan section for BU’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams and an unregistered student organization.

Senior Brayden Soffa (middle) and other students celebrate a Boston University goal in a game against Boston College on January 27. Unregistered BU student organizations, such as BU Dog Pound, do not benefit from BU’s Giving Day fundraising event. KATE KOTLYAR/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Tomorrow is BU’s 10th annual Giving Day, an online fundraising event that encourages donors to designate gifts to BU schools, athletics teams and student organizations of their choosing, according to the Giving Day website. Organizations that are not officially recognized by the Student Activities Office, however, are not on the list to receive donations.

Kellie Sullivan, the senior director of Annual Giving, said Annual Giving works closely with SAO to ensure that donations are tracked. She said Annual Giving has no control over which student organizations can and cannot receive donations.

“We’re not able to help spend those funds, we just help raise the funds,” Sullivan said.

Morgan Contrino, a senior in CAS, is also the senior supervisor at Telefund, a program of student callers who reach out to alumni to build relationships and increase annual giving participation. She said “people can give to whatever they want,” and donations to unlisted causes happen all the time.

“We’ll just put it under an umbrella fund such as the general scholarship fund or student life, and then [the donator] can designate it to that specific fund,” Contrino said.

Matt Spencer, a freshman in CAS, is the treasurer of SoulAAn, a club for generational African American students that was formed this year. He said if SoulAAn could participate in Giving Day, the club could put that funding towards “bettering our community,” starting with a general body meeting its hosting this Thursday.

Any expense the club plans to take on will come “out of pocket,” Spencer said.

For the Dog Pound, Fox said being able to participate in Giving Day “would give us the ability to not have that lack of funding be a barrier.” 

Meanwhile for BU Quadball, fundraising is the only way they can pay for their season. Molly French, a junior in Wheelock College of Human Development and Quadball vice president, said the team has to Uber or take public transportation to their games, which are at Harvard University.

To pay for that, the team sometimes partners with restaurants or crowdfund.  

“I would love to be able to pay our coach,” French said. “We can’t pay him because we don’t have any funding.  

Fox said BU Athletics tries to “collaborate with us when they can,” but he wishes more funding could go toward Dog Pound student section.

“Michigan Tech bused two buses full of students 19 hours to Providence for their regional,” Fox said. “I’m still salty about it.”

Sullivan said Annual Giving wants all students to participate and be able to raise money “for as many places across campus as possible.”

“We want students to have access to every experience in and out of the classroom,” Sullivan said. “Giving Day is just a small piece, but it is a piece of helping make sure that we can give students that experience.”

French is also a member of the women’s club ice hockey team. She said there is a difference between her two teams, as one is registered and the other is not.

“For my registered team, it’s really, really great,” French said. “We get a lot done on [Giving Day], but as a quadball player, I sort of wish we could get in on that.”

Neha Sharma, a senior in CAS and vice president of Girl Gains BU, said she helped form the club with President Sabrina Wu their freshman year. Sharma said her club went from an unregistered to a registered club. 

This is also Girl Gains’ first time participating in Giving Day. 

“We’ve definitely seen a big turnover with engagement [since becoming registered]. A lot more people come to our events,” Sharma said. 

Even though Fox likes that Dog Pound is unaffiliated with SAO because the club can avoid censorship in the student section, it is “tough” not receiving funding. He said they fundraise through alumni networks, group chats and Cameos posted to their Instagram account.

“We’re lucky enough that our fans … are willing to give us a couple dollars here and there when we want to do something,” Fox said. “But I think having a pool of money to work with would open us up to innovation rather than having to shut our ideas down because we know we won’t have the funding for it.”


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