SGA approves $7,000 for Casino Night

by Beacon Staff • February 22, 2006

At a Feb. 7 meeting, the Student Government Association (SGA) approved $7,000 to fund a Casino Night, to be held at the Marriott Courtyard Boston Tremont Hotel on March 15.

Some students, like Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Treasurer Jackie Noblett, who was denied the amount of funds she requested from the SGA for her organization, said they were upset to hear that such a sum was approved for an event that Class of 2006 President Shannon Keaveney referred to as "purely social.,At a Feb. 7 meeting, the Student Government Association (SGA) approved $7,000 to fund a Casino Night, to be held at the Marriott Courtyard Boston Tremont Hotel on March 15.

Some students, like Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Treasurer Jackie Noblett, who was denied the amount of funds she requested from the SGA for her organization, said they were upset to hear that such a sum was approved for an event that Class of 2006 President Shannon Keaveney referred to as "purely social."

Keaveney said the night, which allows students to gamble with fake currency and redeem that cash for raffle tickets used to get prizes, is SGA's most popular event, drawing between 500-600 students each year.

However, Noblett, a junior print journalism major, said she does not think Casino Night warrants the sum allotted for the event.

"I wish [SGA] would do something more appealing to everybody, rather than having kids gamble with fake money," she said.

As SPJ treasurer, Noblett appealed for money from SGA for her organization but was denied a large portion of the amount requested. SPJ requested more than $3,000, she said, but this appeal was denied, and they instead received $750 from SGA.

The money SGA allocates comes from student activities fees, which currently cost students $160 each year, SGA Treasurer Katie Caponera told The Beacon in November.

The amount of funds each organization receives is determined by the Financial Advisory Board (FAB), which is composed of the SGA treasurer and a representative from each class, said Caponera, a senior organizational and political communication major. If an organization wishes to appeal for more money, that appeal is brought before the SGA's voting members and voted on, she said.

The SGA did not use this process to decide how much money to allocate to Casino Night, said SGA Vice President Samantha King. The question of funding was decided by a vote among the organization's voting members, said King, a senior organizational and political communication major.

The money for Casino Night will come from the SGA pool account, which is made up of funds left over from previous semesters, and the group's organizational budget, King said.

According to Keaveney, a senior theatre education major and coordinator of the event, the allocated money will go toward room rental, food, prizes and the casino company, which provides the games for the evening. She added that in past years, the cost topped $9,000.

Keaveney said Casino Night, which has been running for more than five years, functions as a social event that attracts people who do not attend other events on campus and helps inform people about SGA.

"If this is what it takes to get these people out, this is what we need to do," Keaveny said.

Still, for some Emerson students, these reasons do not justify the expense.

Senior theatre studies major Celeste Green, president of Warlords, an action film club at Emerson, said she thought the money spent on Casino Night is excessive.

Green said that Warlords receives around $2,000 per year and the funding they do have is sometimes impossible to access due to budget restrictions and slow SGA response to paperwork.

"A lot of the time, we end up paying for projects ourselves," she said.

Green said she thinks SGA should pay more attention to issues like hers.

"I don't know how interested they are in the success of the organizations they are funding," she said.