MSA to provide start-up grants for new groups

The grants are aimed at student groups not receiving student service fees.

by Cali Owings

Luke Zak wants to bring some high-flying, snitch-chasing magic to the University of Minnesota.
Zak, a linguistics and French first-year, is the president of the University Quidditch League, a group for students who want to play a real-world version of the wizard sport popularized in the Harry Potter series.
Zak said he and other league officers have been paying to fund this unique student group, but they may be eligible for a new grant from the Minnesota Student Association.
To become a registered student group through Student Unions and Activities, new student groups must have five members and pay a $25 fee.
From printing flyers to renting tables at activities fairs, student groups pay to get the word out about their organization.
New student groups like the University Quidditch League have many additional expenses that are the burden of the group members or president, said MSA representative Paul Buchel.
Currently, the only way for student groups to receive money for their organizations is through grants from MSA, SUA and other sponsors like Coca-Cola, but that money is reserved for student groups hosting an event.
To resolve these issues, Buchel proposed a resolution that was passed Tuesday that will provide grants for new and small student organizations that do not receive student service fees money.
“This is basic budget funding provided by MSA so that student group presidents and student groups don’t start for two years and then just fall to pieces,” Buchel said.
This grant will also help small groups that are denied funding by the Student Services Fees Committee, he said.
Last year, Campus People Watchers applied for fees funding and were denied, but Buchel said this type of grant would be beneficial to groups like that, which do not require a large operating budget.
According to his proposal, the Operational Budget Grant will be available in $150, $300 and $600 increments to meet the needs of different student groups. They will not be available until the grants committee outlines the eligibility requirements.
MSA set aside $8,000 of their Special Events Fund for the new Operational Budget Grant during Tuesday’s forum.
The University Quidditch League will be applying for the $600 grant as soon as the application becomes available. Buchel estimated that student groups will be able to access the application within the next two weeks.
In the absence of the money from MSA, members of the University Quidditch League are getting creative to promote their group.
Amanda Soczynski, one of the team captains, said they have been borrowing supplies from family members and printed flyers with one member’s Office Max discount.
But it will take a lot more than the grant from MSA to get the University Quidditch League on its feet.
Soczynski said the group hopes to make it to the Quidditch World Cup this November in New York City. In order to be eligible to play in the tournament, Soczynski said their team will have to register with the International Quidditch Association and pay $200 in dues.
The team will also need to purchase brooms, balls, uniforms and hoops to be able to play the sport.
To meet their needs, Zak said the group will be holding a fundraiser in the future in the form of a bake sale or Yule Ball, a Harry Potter-themed dance.