5 Creative Ways to Use Up What’s Left of Your Budget

You can count the number of weeks left on one hand, but you have money left in your budget that you don’t know what to do with. You’re sure there’s something you can use it for, and anyway, there is still some time left before you have to transfer it all back to the convocation fun.

But what to use it on? It’s too late to plan a big party and at this point catering might be more trouble than it’s worth. Well, don’t worry, we’ve come up with a few ideas for you! These are by no means the only ways to use up the remainder of your budget, but they might help you come up with some ideas of your own.

1) Food Social

Everyone likes food, right? So why not grab some snacks, sweets, and drinks? But wait! Clubs can only buy food for open events, right? Yup, that’s right! Before you start planning a big party in the MPR (or, more likely, skip to number 2), you don’t need to host a large event for it to count! Why not host a small social or Q+A meeting? I’m sure there are people who haven’t heard of your club and are interested in learning more about who you are and what you do. All the yummy food you buy with your extra budget will draw some newcomers, too.

For an extra few dollars, you can have posters printed out advertising your event. If you design them yourself, they can be printed much faster! Stop by the SPARC office for the club printing card for anything black and white and 8.5” x 11”. If you design a poster in color or bigger than 8.5” x 11”, send a .pdf version to printing services at printjob@bard.edu. **Don’t forget to mention your club’s name and to cc student activities so we can charge your club’s budget! If you have questions about pricing, send SPARC and email or drop by our office.

2)  Interactive Crafts

Have you ever seen a club tabling in the Campus Center lobby? It’s super easy to do. All you need is a quick stop in the SPARC office to reserve a table at least a few days in advance. But no one is going to reserve a table without knowing what to do with it, right? Why not host some interactive crafts? Craft supplies can eat up money like nobody’s business, and once you have them, things like crayons, markers, and stamps can be used over and over. Giving people something to work on will encourage them to stop by your table, and they will probably be more interesting in hearing your club spiel (we all have one). Also, crafty things are just plain fun!

3) Games for All

Well, while we’re reverting to our childhood with Crayola art supplies, why not take a detour through toys and games? There are games that can relate to just about anything. Advertise your club meetings with a table of Barbies on strike or legos building an ancient fortress, or perhaps an entire table of rubix cubes. Maybe pair a night of playing Life with some social commentary on representations in popular games, or discuss the multifaceted complexities of international relations over puzzles. When you’re done, if you don’t want to keep them for later events (and really, who doesn’t want to keep toys for events?), donate them! They might not be as important as blankets for Sandy relief, but someone will appreciate a soft teddy bear to snuggle. And there are a multitude of other organizations locally and in NYC that would love some lightly-used toys. A quick google search will help you decide which ones to pick. Just make sure you buy the toys first for your club! Unless your club is specifically for Sandy relief, buying supplies to donate with club budget is actually a misuse of budget money.

4) Cards to decorate 

Got something to say? Want to hear the voices of the student body? Why not say it in cards? This overlaps with craft supplies I mentioned before, but hear me out. You can buy magazines and newspapers along with your colorful paper, stickers, and glitter glue to be cut up and used in cards. The cards themselves could be anything. Maybe they’re advertisements for an event you have coming up. Leave them around Kline and DTR, and they will draw more attention that the average slip-of-paper ad. Or perhaps they will be sent to friends and family with a themed message. Or maybe anyone coming to your table or events can make cards in response to a question you pose, and afterwards you will post them up in a wall display. The possibilities are endless.

5) Speaking of Wall Display…

How about a creative wall display? The theme doesn’t have to be anything spectacular – it could just be some information about your club or your club’s purpose (fun facts, anyone?). But hey, why not be creative and make it look extra spectacular? Why not pin up a string and hang colorful photos and snappy facts from it using clothespins? Or maybe buy some thin cardboard and reflective material for some hand-made mirrors? Make and decorate paper picture frames to highlight the images you use. There are all sorts of devices you can use to catch people’s attention. A quick stroll around any craft store is sure to give you an idea or two!

10 ways to beat the mid-semester slump

November is creeping up and you’ve got extra club money that you need to use. Or your one big party fell through and now you have nothing planned for the next two months. Or your meetings are getting smaller and smaller and you suspect no one is reading your emails.

Every club feels it: the mid-semester slump. There isn’t enough time to plan a big, expensive event (and in any case, most spaces have already been booked), but you really need something to put on the budget request come Spring. What’s a club to do? Read more

Club Spotlight: J Street U

J Street U is a national student club that advocates for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. It’s the university branch of J Street, a progressive lobby association on the hill that formed because of frustrations that other organizations were spending more time focusing on security issues than a two-state solution. Now, J Street U has groups in many universities across the nation.

Abby Lutsky and Sarah Stern are two of the three club heads of Bard’s J Street U group. With their third club head Jordan Cooper, they work together to facilitate discussion meetings and plan various types of events on campus. But both Abby and Sarah came to J Street U from different places. Read more

Club Spotlight: Pin-Up Appreciation Society

You may remember Galen from Bard LARPs. Along with her co-host Bella, she also runs the Pin-Up Appreciation Society. The two have been a tag team since the start of the semester, but that doesn’t mean they’re interested in all the same things. Bella’s interests lie mostly in pin-up while Galen tends to emphasize burlesque. As a result, the Pin-Up Appreciation Society is a mix of both: The name is Pin-Up, but the email is bardburlesque; they hold burlesque shows and sell pin-up calendars for fundraising.

“Where we find common ground is that we are a pro-beautiful, pro-being yourself and being beautiful group,” Galen explained. “We say that we’re pro-sex, but that’s not really it. It’s really pro-happiness and pro-contentment. It’s about being like, ‘you know what, whatever my body is it’s awesome and I’m gonna rock it.’ ” Read more

Club Spotlight: Bard LARPs

I talked to Galen Dorpalen, head of Bard LARPs, or as Galen said:

“I like calling it BLARPs. I think it’s hilarious as a name.”

For those of you who might not know, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play. It’s a combination of improvisation, play acting, and, sometimes, really awesome costumes.

Bard LARPs, or BLARPs, whichever you prefer, is starting its first semester at Bard. They’re looking to see where there is the most interest. But even among LARPing aficionados, that’s not an easy task. There are a lot of ways to have fun with LARPs, and a lot of things to run a LARP. Many people have strong opinions about what does and does not count as a LARP. The problem is finding a common ground that can speak to all shades of LARPers and generate common discussion. Read more

Club Spotlight: Swing Club!

Moraima Ortiz is now a month into her second semester as club head of Swing Club. I asked her how things were going.

“So far it’s been stressful, but I’m enjoying it,” she answered.

You may remember Swing Club last year for holding West Coast style swing dance lessons a few Sundays each semester. Anyone could come to watch or participate, and after the lesson there was generally time to go over whatever was confusing in the lesson or to “enjoy music and company of our fellow swingers.”

This year Swing Club will be doing much of the same thing, but instead of West Coast style, they will be focusing on the East Coast style. Read more

Let’s get this party started!

So, does everyone remember this?

Club Fair was a BIG success! Thanks to all you club heads and members, as well as everyone who took the time to stop by and sign up. We’ve got a few photos from the night. If you want to see them, head over to our SPARC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SPARCatBard, and “like” us while you’re there! Read more

So soon in, already the fun is started

Welcome back everyone! Things are just getting started, the space for the semester is already filling up FAST! Tomorrow (Thursday) Budget Forum will finalize everyone’s budgets, and then we’ll really be rocking. This year’s Club Fair, right before Budget Forum at 6:00pm outside Kline, looks to be especially interesting. Cara Black, our student body president, has announced a competition for club pride. Club members with the most interesting and creative costumes that relate to their club will win special prizes. So club members, come dressed to impress! Everyone else, come be impressed (I know I will be)! Remember that everything will be moved into Kline if it rains, so if the weather’s looking glum and you don’t see anyone outside, no fear. We’ve probably just moved inside.

As a reminder to club members, tables for  Club Fair are on a first come, first served basis, and there aren’t enough for every club. So come early to grab a table and please, share! We’re all friends here! Read more