Groups and clubs on campus use various methods to fund their organizations. These fundraisers vary from donations from local businesses to creating events students can take part in on campus venues such as the Black Box Cabaret. Thinking back to high school and middle school days, fundraising consisted of selling candy bars or cookie dough to our friends and family. Yet, why hasn’t this concept been applied to the college level of fundraising at Cal State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB)?
The main reason for the lack of food sales on campus, especially food sales which benefit organizations and clubs on campus through fundraising, is due to the limitations from Sodexo, the company which runs the Dining Commons, Otter Bay Restaurant, Otter Express, and the Pete’s Cafe. Sodexo has a contract with the university which prohibits outside sources of food in school functioned events on school property. This includes selling outside food on school grounds. This limits students to the choices they have on campus and not much else.
In regards to the limitations students have due to Sodexo, a group of student activists called Students for Quality Education (SQE) protested against Sodexo on March 28 in “Sodexo Sux”. Michael Fredriksen, a spokesperson for SQE stated, “The protest wasn’t necessarily about fundraising, although that is certainly one activity that is restricted by Sodexo’s monopoly on campus.”
And restricted it is. Sujiery Guzman, Sophomore, Biology, has found it hard to raise funds with the four other members in her group. Their organization does not have a tax ID, which makes it harder for them to find outside vendors to fundraise and sponsor them.
Fortunately, Michael Fredricksen found during their protest, “...this [protest] did show us one thing about Sodexo’s contract with the university: if we don’t agree with it, then we don’t have to follow it. No one from Sodexo or the university tried to stop us. So if other groups on campus want to avoid buying food from Sodexo, then don’t. Just get your food elsewhere.”
Like SQE and many other students, groups have tried to sell foods and goods on campus in other ways. While SQE set up a table in front of the library and the Dining Commons, some groups have resorted to selling food out of their homes and even dorms with a delivery system. Some use a pre-sell or pre-order system, which has yet to fail them. In order to do this, students use word of mouth and sometimes Facebook to advertise and market their food and goods to other students on campus. This, of course, only reaches as far as it can without open marketing and advertising. The groups must also be quite organized to do this in order to deliver the goods to the person who has pre-ordered the item. These methods, among others, are different options for fundraising on campus.
Charles Wesley, general manager of campus dining at CSUMB, responded to the strain the students are feeling regarding fundraising by selling food on campus by saying their main concern is “collaboration, cooperation, and education, as well as serving students safe food”. Wesley said CSUMB has an exclusivity clause with Sodexo, which protects the students from outbreaks or illnesses from food they ingest on campus. Wesley has the responsibility to ensure all food on campus undergoes thorough inspection and meets Sodexo’s standards in receiving, handling, serving, storing, and disposing in order to guarantee the food is safe for all who eat it. If students sell their own food on campus, Charles Wesley and Sodexo cannot guarantee the safety of the food for the rest of the community.
In regards for fundraising and the “Sodexo Sux” protest, Wesley expressed that all students have to do is speak with him or Sodexo. They are willing to “collaborate, cooperate, and educate” students of different ways Sodexo can help organizations in fundraising, and they can even work with the groups’ budgets.