When November rolls around, all Grand Valley State University students brace themselves for the barrage of begging Battle of the Valleys entails. For more than a week, the campus becomes consumed with T-shirt sales, donation bins and fundraising events.
It's part of being a Laker, but it's no secret some parts of Battle of the Valleys could be better.
While it may be annoying for students to constantly be asked to donate money, there are even bigger issues when it comes to how the Battle of the Valleys money has been managed.
For the past two years, GVSU has raised money for the Laker Children's Fund, a fund that was supposed to give money to local charities that benefit children. The idea of the Laker Children's Fund is good, in theory, but the lack of planning and oversight with the fund will leave Lakers even less willing to donate money than in the past.
According to the article, "Following the funds," it took more than a year for a cent of the $7,022 raised in 2014's Battle of the Valleys to get in the hands of any charity organization. Until recently, there was no way for a charity to request part of the hard-fundraised money in the fund. Frankly, that's downright irresponsible.
Putting this issue on a larger scale, imagine if a well-known corporation raised money for a group in need without concrete plans for how to distribute the money. This would be cause for a large public outcry as well as possible legal implications. It comes down to this: if you are asking people to donate their personal money to a cause, there should be a thought-out plan for distribution.
It's hard enough to find places to donate money. It's difficult to identify which charities will actually help those in need. Having the university create and support this fund, asking students to donate their hard-earned money, is upsetting. Students are tight on money as it as, stretching themselves thin to pay rent and tuition without being asked to donate money to a charity that didn't actually help people for an entire year. For students to donate their hard-earned money to a fund that didn't actually do anything with the donations, instead just letting the money sit there, is not acceptable.
The idea behind Battle of the Valleys and the Laker Children's Fund is an honorable one. The idea of students, faculty, staff and community members coming together to support those in need is every Laker's dream. In the future, we would love to see this goal accomplished. However, we urge those planning such an event to be mindful of the logistics behind bringing 25,000 students together for monetary support.
Organizing Battle of the Valleys is no easy task. The students that run the Laker Traditions Team and lead the fundraising efforts are surely just doing their best. But at some point, someone in the Office of Student Life should have asked how the Laker Children's Fund donations were going to be distributed.
If faculty, staff and administrators want the students at GVSU to take Battle of the Valleys seriously, perhaps they should, too.