Club athletics at Carleton look different than usual this year, largely due to campus health guidelines preventing teams from travelling off-campus or competing against other schools. As teams are limited to practicing amongst themselves, they are saving lots of money.
“It is quite a shift from the normal Winter Term,” said Kate Lanier, Junior captain of Syzygy, Carleton’s Division I ultimate frisbee team. In a normal year, the team would already be ramping up intrasquad competition in preparation for a series of late winter tournaments in California and North Carolina.
“Normally we would be practicing several days per week at the indoor turf in Faribault, but right now, we are limited to distanced practices in the Rec and have no plans for competition in the near future,” added Eli Babcock ‘21, captain of CUT (Carleton Ultimate Team).
Syzygy and CUT are two of many club programs with no tournaments, excursions or games on the calendar in the upcoming months. Take Nordic Skiing as an example, which recently cancelled a slate of winter trips to Giants’ Ridge, a recreational area with miles of ski trails in Northern Minnesota. Add up eliminated spending across programs on entry fees, turf time and travel expenses, and the money begins to pile up.
“The greatest impact the pandemic has had on our spending has certainly been in the area of travel. Expenditures related to travel, such as transportation lodging and entry fees, are non-existent this year,” said Club Sports Director Aaron Chaput. “For the clubs that travel and compete, this has resulted in them having a surplus of their allocated funds.”
To productively redistribute the surplus of funds, each club sports team will donate 20 percent of their budget to an on-campus organization of their choice. The redistribution is designed to compensate for the inability of club teams to take part in community service projects, an initiative they are traditionally encouraged to partake in each year.
“With the pandemic restricting our ability to do community service both on campus and off, the Sport Club Office and the Club Sports Council collaborated with CSA on this idea as a way to maintain an opportunity to give back, specifically to the on-campus community, through allowing teams to commit up to 20 percent of their allocated budget for the year to a cause on campus they would like to support,” said Chaput. In total, clubs sports programs have donated a little over $19,000 of allocated funds.
In place of a service project, each club was able to decide where they wanted their money to go. “There were a number of different groups and causes supported,” explained Chaput. “A few that showed up more frequently were the Cultural Org fund, the CSA Textbook Library and the Carleton Cupboard.”
Club athletes reacted positively to the decision. “I really feel good about it,” said Lanier. “It doesn’t make sense for us, as a team, to hold on to the entire allocation because it exceeds anything we will be doing this year. I’m appreciative there is a productive place the money can go instead of just sitting unused.”
“We see this as a totally practical reallocation given that our normal expenses have been substantially reduced,” added Babcock, who along with the rest of the CUT team opted for their portion of funding to be re-allocated to the Cultural Org fund, where access to the funds will be made available to the cultural organizations who apply for it. Potential suitors include do
zens of campus organizations whose purpose is to embrace, share and preserve cultures represented in the student body. Other clubs like Syzygy have opted for CSA to handle the re-allocation of their funds.
“We really don’t have expenses this term like we usually would,” said Lanier. “I’m just glad that the money we weren’t going to use is able to be redistributed for a good cause.”