Lack of Funding Stunts Dreams of Dance Team Nationals


Author: Sarah Mofford

Currently competing with a second place Southern California Regional Championships title, the Oxy dance team has not only made a name for itself but is consistently striving to increase its skill level. In order to garner more recognition, the team is trying to raise money to compete at the Universal Dance Association’s National Competition this January in Orlando, Florida. So what’s holding the team back? Including costumes, choreographer and registration fees, the trip will cost about $10,000.

Oxy dance team secretary and treasurer Chelsea Duncan (sophomore) explained the situation in an e-mail interview. “Basically, each member of the team has given $300 towards the team this year which paid for some of our costumes and a choreographer . . . but we still have a long way to go,” she said. Duncan emphasized that the team wants to go to nationals, and will do everything possible to get there.”We have/will exhaust every opportunity to get money possible,” she added.

Monetary support came from Oxy club-sport funding, which allots up to $2,000 to qualifying clubs. Captain Alyssa Cuervo (junior) said the rewarded funding will be used for registration, yet it is not enough to cover the team’s total costs. “This is only Occidental’s third year competing at regional and national competitions. Dance Team is constantly expanding but the money we receive is not,” Cuervo said.

Last year, the team ran into funding issues as well. However, this year the team is taking a more economic and proactive route to fix this problem. “We cut our total costs from $16,000 to about $10,000 this year. We have also been extremely proactive in fundraising,” Duncan said. “We’re working our tushes off to try to raise the money.” She also said that everyone on the team organized and conducted at least one fundraiser so far this year. “Because we are new we don’t have a strong alumni that supports us,” Cuervo explained. “Because we are a club sport, there are many limitations in the amount of money that we receive. We are having bake sales, Spitz fundraisers, Italiano’s fundraisers, otter pop sales, ribbon sales and face painting.”

Considering the team only received club sport money, it is now looking to other organizations and clubs for help. One disappointment came from Programming Board, which denied the team funds. “The reason we couldn’t fund them was because our department is only supposed to do programming during the academic semesters and is open to the entire campus community,” Programming Board representative Nebeu Shimeles (senior) explained. “Rebirth and ORSL [Office of Religious and Student Life] asked us for money for their trips over winter break and we had to give them the same answer as well.” However, Shimeles also explained that Programming Board is allowed to give organizations funding that will go toward fundraisers. “It sucks that we can’t help out with the trip directly but we’re not really supposed to,” Shimeles said.

However, with encouragement from other Oxy organizations, it’s clear that the team is not without support in its pursuit of nationals. “We have begun to cultivate ties with student organizations on campus like Greek council, Programming Board, Pulse, Dance Production and other varsity and club sports,” Duncan explained. She said that the team has received tons of encouragement from these student organizations.

Cuervo reiterated how integral these organizations have been to the acquisition of funds. For one, Greek Council co-sponsored the dance team’s recent fundraiser at Italiano’s. “They [campus organizations] have been an amazing support system for us,” said Cuervo. “The student body has really come together. Sports team captains have encouraged their members to support us and come to our fundraisers.”

However, the team understands its situation in light of current economic issues. “I want to stress that we understand the school is spread thin with finances, that is why we are reaching out to as many different places as possible to raise the funds ourselves,” Duncan said. “We don’t have a coach, nothing is done for us, we work for everything we get.”

The team will continue to do all that is possible in order to raise the money needed to make it to nationals, and hopes the student body will also come out and show its support. The team’s first competition will be at the Southern California Regional Championships, at which it hopes to keep or beat its second place title from previous years.

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