Campus clubs offer five course meals, other luxuries to attract members
BY MOE RAHMATULLAH
Several campus organizations, including the Youngtown Edition, are offering five course meals and other luxuries over the next several weeks in a bid to attract new members.
“It’s a way for us to reach out to prospective members and get them interested in working with our publication,” said Beth Peter, Editor in Chief of the Youngtown Edition. “We found that when we had some pizza at our meetings, the number of members attending increased. Naturally, when we decided to begin serving entire five course meals with a main dish consisting of foie gras, we saw another modest uptick in attendance.”
The Youngtown Edition has been handing out luxurious membership incentives in an effort to win over new members. Offerings over the last several semesters include haircut vouchers, concert tickets and back massages. It has been the latest development in a campus-wide effort by clubs to increase membership.
While some campus organizations like the Youngtown Edition are eager to take part in the new trend, others are wary of this development.
“It wasn’t always like this,” said Jessie Hoover, treasurer of the Historical Frugality Association. “It started out friendly enough. Some clubs offered drinks and snacks at their meetings to get more people in to see what they had to offer. Then, a few clubs decided to serve donuts at their meetings. It’s been in a spiral ever since, with crazy giveaways. It’s draining all our funds.”
In an increasingly competitive club landscape, student organizations are struggling to garner the attention of prospective members. This has led to increasingly over-the-top giveaways, including a brand new car by the Automotive Club and a tract of land that includes an entire mountain by the Rock Climbing Club.
Costs associated with club marketing have risen 1000% since this period last year according to reviews of club budgets obtained from the Campus Activities Office.
Among those clubs that do capture the spotlight momentarily, many find that they are unable to hold the attention for long, resulting in high turnover. Over 70% of members leave after taking advantage of the promotional offers put forward by the clubs according to recent reports.
“I’ve been making a killing,” said Jason Freemeyer, a design major. “I know a little bit of Photoshop so clubs have been giving me all sorts of fancy stuff and meals to try to get me to sign up. It’s crazy. I’ll hit up one club until they stop giving me things, then go find another club that will give me things. It’s like I never have to buy anything ever again.”
Campus authorities have been caught off guard by the costly trend.
“Where are they even getting all this money?” said Ronald Yilps, the Coordinator of Campus Activities, “I’ve seen the clubs’ budgets and most of these teams shouldn’t be able to afford a pizza, as in one single pizza pie. I don’t understand where they’re getting all this funding from but I don’t like it.”
Despite the controversy surrounding the new practice, many clubs now see providing members with free gifts as the only way to bring attention to their club and stay active. Some organizations are even going beyond conventional goods in an effort to stand out from the crowd and retain members.