Freeland puts $15k toward RSA’s spring formal

By Stephanie Peters

When students tear it up on the dance floor and sit down to a fancy meal at the Boston Marriott Copley Plaza Saturday night, it will largely be on President Richard Freeland’s dime.

President Freeland pledged $15,000 to the first annual Northeastern University Formal Ball after being approached by members of the Resident Student Association (RSA), short on funding for the event, making him RSA’s largest co-sponsor of the ball.

“I thought the idea that we needed some kind of anchor event for the winter comparable to Homecoming in the fall and Springfest in the spring was really a great idea,” Freeland said.

Though Freeland said it was somewhat unusual for him to fund campus events because the Student Activity Fee (SAF) funds most, “every once in a while I make an exception for something that could be successful and wouldn’t happen otherwise.”

Without his donation the ball wouldn’t have happened, said Allyson Savin, RSA member and co-chair of the ball. RSA is unable to receive funding through the channels most student groups use, namely the Budget Review Committee’s (BRC) appropriation of the SAF funds, because the organization receives money from the residence hall fee.

“We would have needed to have another student group to sponsor the event or sponsor a request to the BRC,” Savin said.

Savin and co-chair RSA President Smith Anderson approached Freeland at the end of January after both the Student Government Association (SGA) and Council for University Programming (CUP) turned down RSA’s invitations to co-sponsor the ball, Anderson said.

Both SGA and CUP are student groups eligible to request funding from the BRC.

“[Freeland] found out that we were in a bind and needed more funding and was willing to help,” Anderson said.

Despite the short notice, Freeland pledged his support because the formal is an event he has hoped to see to fruition since he arrived at the university, he said.

“This is all about enriching student life, something as president I very much want to encourage,” Freeland said. “We’re just very grateful when student leadership comes to us with ideas for this type of event.”

Once Freeland agreed to support the event, other administrative offices soon followed suit, Savin said.

“Quite frankly, I think his contribution helped snowball more contributions from the administration, and without that combined effort we wouldn’t have had enough funding for this,” Savin said.

The Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Alumni Relations and CUP are also co-sponsoring the event.

The revenue collected from the $25 ticket sales will go toward offsetting the total cost of the event, which Savin estimates will be between $40,000 and $55,000. The exact cost will depend on ticket sales, Savin said. Though the ballroom can accommodate 1,000, RSA is planning for a crowd of 500. Tickets can be purchased on the myNEU portal until Friday.

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