SGA grants screenwriting org catering cash

by Celia Carbone / Beacon Correspondent • November 3, 2016

SPEC’s appeal for $400 to cater its fall and spring writer’s retreats was approved by the Student Government Association.

SPEC is an on-campus media organization for students interested in screenwriting, according to the Emerson College website. The organization conducts workshops to give feedback on student-submitted scripts and hosts annual performance-style readings.

“The goal of [the retreat] is to improve the members’ writing,” Ellie Wells, junior visual and media arts major and SPEC member, said.

SPEC is expected to host two eight-hour writer’s retreats this school year, one in the fall and another in the spring, Wells said. The first will be held in the Max Mutchnick Campus Center Multipurpose room, and they are hoping to have the second at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, senior visual and media arts major and SPEC member Barrett Festen said.

“[The retreats] are an opportunity to spend time writing without the deal of classes and everything else getting in the way,” Festen said.

SPEC leaders polled 25 of the organization's members present at their most recent meeting, and 90 percent said they would attend these proposed retreats.

“We value getting student feedback,” SPEC president senior Haley Thomson said. “People were really responsive to our previous writing retreat.”

To fundraise, senior SPEC member Casey Dalager said the members will sell customized laptop stickers. The expected profit of this fundraiser is between $60 and $100, he said, which is not enough to cover the estimated cost of the retreat catering. SPEC has already raised $30 to put toward the catering budget from the sale of surplus t-shirts from a previous fundraiser.

Due to a larger membership this year, the planned fundraisers will not be able to cover the costs of the upcoming retreats, Dalager said.

“I thought when you came out with this idea [for a writer’s retreat] last year, [it was] so smart and simple,” SGA vice president Gabby Kula said in favor of the appeal. “I think this is an event that, if you continue to do, could become an Emerson classic.”

SGA met with the External Review Team for Campus Life about how the Student Affairs Department best serves students and suggestions for improvement, Vice President and Dean for Campus Life James Hoppe said of a closed meeting following the appeal. Members voted to close the meeting to the public to ensure that their conversation was honest when speaking with the team, according to SGA president Emily Solomon.