MSA receives funding for concert

United Way donated $10,000 to help pay for the “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” concert.

Amber Kispert

Despite losing nearly $40,000 in University funding last spring, the Minnesota Student Association got a helping hand from an outside source to continue on with its scheduled events.

Citing disappointing participation and high costs of MSA programs – like the “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” concert and the MSA Express – the Student Services Fees Committee decided to reduce MSA’s funds in its final recommendations for the current school-year budget.

Fortunately, MSA has found help from United Way. The nonprofit community service program has donated $10,000 to help fund the “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” event.

“Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” is a volunteer program that began last year at the University. Every student who worked 10 hours of community service received a free ticket to see Guster at Northrop Auditorium.

MSA began the program after learning that the University of Iowa had a similar program called “The 10,000 Hours Show.”

“We picked it up and gave it a new name,” said MSA President Emma Olson. “It’s a really great way for students to get involved.”

Last year more than 3,000 students participated in the “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” event, which resulted in 30,000 community service hours, Olson said.

In comparison to the University of Iowa’s “10,000 Hours Show,” “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” received more participation from students.

“Their first year, they had a little under 900 qualified,” said MSA Vice President Ross Skattum. “So we blew them out of the water.”

Even though Olson said she felt “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” was a success, the SSFC did not feel the same way.

According to an SSFC report, the committee felt the amount of money being used to fund the concert was “too large in proportion to the amount of students able to attend.”

The report also cited an accounting error, which resulted in a $30,000 surplus of funding, as a reason for the monetary cuts.

For this year, MSA wants to fund the concert completely by itself.

“The goal is to totally use fundraising, not student services fees,” Skattum said.

MSA decided to approach United Way first because it has a history of being instrumental with these types of programs, Olson said.

United Way decided to participate in “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” because it gets students interested in volunteering.

“It is a good way to reach young people and get them involved in volunteering,” said Christine Johnson, public relations coordinator for United Way.

In addition to United Way’s assistance and fundraising, MSA is looking into other fundraising options. Olson said the group is going to approach University President Bob Bruininks about possible funding for the event.

In case the group isn’t able to reach its goal, it has a backup plan.

“We kept some money in reserve for the concert, just in case,” said Olson.

Although Skattum said he appreciates the additional financial support, he said MSA still needs funding.

“We hope the fees committee sees that we’re still doing other programs and still need help,” Skattum said.

This year MSA is striving for 45,000 hours of community service. The concert is also going to reach a little closer to home.

“We want to showcase the Minneapolis music scene,” Skattum said. “(We want to show) local bands that have made it big.”

A set date of when MSA will begin collecting the volunteer hours has not been decided. Currently, MSA is looking at October or November as the starting dates.