Athletics Dept. Optimistic Despite Rising Costs, Increased Need for Fundraising

Due to changes in funding and cost increases for programs and equipment, the Athletics Department has made several changes to its operations, including varsity team’s greater reliance on fundraising, staff cuts, and playoff restructuring.
Director of Athletics and Recreation Scott Devine said that operational changes in athletics departments because of monetary concerns has been going on nationwide.

Programs have been dropped, the number of and frequency of athletic contests has decreased, and staff members have been cut.

Devine also said that the Athletic and Recreations Center (ARC) has been affected mainly because of unplanned equipment repairs.

He said that repairs for one treadmill or elliptical can cost anywhere from $6,000-$8,000.

Last spring, the ARC also had several staff cuts and a reduction in operation hours.

However, the athletics department is no longer running a deficit and will be “better able to handle any unplanned repairs,” said Tom Fisher, ARC Director

Fiscal Associate Cindy Dale said the ARC is doing okay and can maintain the level at which it is running. “However,” she said, “this year has a back to basics attitude.”

Still, “we want the ARC to continue to function at a high level” because it is important for recruiting, community events, and health and wellness of students, faculty, and staff,” she said.

Fiscal changes have also affected the varsity sports teams. Although the teams have always used fundraising to support their programs, the “demand to do that has increased…and the cost of business has gone up,” said Devine.

The need for more fundraising, usually in the form of camps, clinics, and concessions, comes from rising costs for game officials, travel costs, meals, training, practice gear, and uniforms.

The school also used to have an athletics contingency fund to help cover these expenses, but it does not exist any more.
Despite rising costs, Devine said, the Athletics Department has “tried to keep the focus on not impacting the quality of the experience for students.”

He also said that it is important to realize that the “increased requirement to fundraise to supplement the budget will continue to be there and that…the biggest concern will continue to be unplanned repairs.”

Devine concluded by saying, “We will continue to run programs with student experience front and center.”

Intercollegiate Fashion Club Holds Show

On Thursday, April 9, 2009 the Intercollegiate Fashion Club (IFC) held a show in the ARC featuring several different collections from budding designers.

The show featured models from St. Mary’s, but they also utilized models from outside of the school. Models were seen in everything from shiny, red bodysuits to printed tee shirts. The show had a decent turnout with audience members comprised of both students and community members.

Outside of the show The Invisible Children Committee sold DVD’s, bracelets, and collected donations. They also gave away various hats and scarves with the Invisible Children logo on them. Some of the merchandise was featured in the show and can be ordered online.

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Dances Show Off Multitude of Different Numbers

The dance numbers included Hip Hop and R&B choreography, lyrical ballets, belly dance, jazz contemporary, a theatrical piece, merengue, and a modern rock piece. (Photos by Rowan Copley)
The dance numbers included Hip Hop and R&B choreography, lyrical ballets, belly dance, jazz contemporary, a theatrical piece, merengue, and a modern rock piece. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

The dance show’s theme, “Born to Dance” was fulfilled as students both in and out of the dance club got the chance to perform and show the college how they like to move it.

Makeyda Hilliard, a senior and president of the dance club, lamented not working more with the school for better performance venues that are good for both the audience and the dancers. The show took place in Somerset Gym in the ARC, an unlikely venue for the event. Previously, the show had taken place in St. Mary’s Hall, where tickets needed to be sold to control the number of people allowed inside.

The secluded entrance to the show had no effect on the jam-packed audiences that the club attracted during each show. In fact, some parents who arrived late and missed their reserved seats left complaining that they were not able to see their children as up close and personal as they would have preferred.

The club made do with the space given to them, though. They put up blinders to the audience in order to allow for backstage privacy for the dancers, in addition to adding brown paper on the windows to keep the show intimate and secluded.

The show was complete with a series of senior spotlights featuring those students who have been dedicated to the dance club here at St. Mary’s for years. Each spotlight featured no more than eight students at a time with their own choreographed pieces. The seven spotlight dances were spread out between the first and second act.

Senior Megan McDonough, who has been performing at the dance show since her freshman year, commented on the variety of dances performed during this semester’s show. “The Saturday show was the best for me, probably because I knew it was my last performance. The crowd was also really good on Saturday and helped all of the dancers stay pumped.”

“When I first came here as a freshman I didn’t even know they had a dance club,” said senior Binwi Ngwa-suh. However, after seeing the spring dance show of 2006, Ngwa-Suh joined the dance club. This semester she performed in over three dances, including a senior spotlight. “I decided to go out dancing,” said Ngwa-Suh.

Senior Micha Benons describes dance as one of the reasons she decided to come to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. When alumni and former dance club executive members Katherina Furrs and Rachel Flurrie told Micha about the dance show, she couldn’t resist.

“I got so excited I came, and I joined the club,” said Benons. “What I’ll miss most is the commitment of the dancers and the fact that nobody who joins is deterred by their own personal dance level. I love that we have no concern about if you’ve danced before or what type of dance you’ve done.”

This year’s dance show featured a special performance done by the Modern I Dance Class.

“Makeyda started the tradition of bringing a non-traditional group into the show,” said Ngwa-Suh. “Last semester it was the step team and they rocked!  This semester it was one of Kelly Mayfield’s classes and they were great. That was a nice added element for the club members; we really liked having another group backstage with us!”

“I thought it was really neat to see students express themselves,” said Frank McGough, a sophomore. “I liked the last dance the best because everyone acted drunk.”

“I think the show was awesome! I am so proud of the dancers and the choreographers,” Hilliard said after the show. “I will miss everything. I can’t even find the words to say what I loved most about being involved in dance club. For me, dance club made my college career awesome!”

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Spring Showcase A Success

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On Friday March 27, St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s first Spring Showcase was held in the Athletics and Recreational Center. Sponsored by Triple S Effect, Dance Club, and the Black Student Union, the showcase featured a select few performances from the Dance Club, poetry from the newly formed Spoken Word group, a captivating step performance from the school’s step team Triple S Effect and music from FiveOne, a visiting band. Before the Showcase began, there were vendors selling merchandise and jewelry, as well as a club fair in the arena.  The three-and-a-half hour show was a success, as there was not only a huge turnout both for the showcase but also the black and white party sponsored by Raices Hispañas held directly after the show in Daugherty Palmer Commons.