The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is currently in discussions with the University Court Office to change restrictions on bake sales on campus. University clubs and societies are limited from having more than one bake sale per semester, though the University states this is not a new regulation.
The guidelines state that only “SRC affiliated student societies are allowed to run information stalls and baked goods stalls.” They also request that the Secretary of Court knows about it “well in advance so that his office can ensure that your stall is not blocking access to entry/exits, does not conflict with other events on campus and, if it is a bake sale, is not in direct competition with the University’s own catering facilities.” Finally, it is noted that last minute applications will be declined.
It is this new stipulation that a club/society is limited to holding one per semester that Jess McGrellis, President of the SRC said: “This new policy is incredibly frustrating as there are a number of clubs and societies who rely on bake sales to raise extra cash so they can undertake the variety of activities that make our University a great place to be a student. Stalls are also crucial for raising the profile of societies and important campaigns.”
The University denies any changes in regulation regarding bake sales. A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: “We are happy to accommodate bake sales and there has been no change to the guidance on these. The University appreciates that holding a stall on campus provides your society with an opportunity to publicise itself or raise money for charitable causes. SRC affiliated student societies are allowed to run information stalls and baked good stalls.”
Members of various societies have since come forward to state they have felt restrictions on their fundraising efforts. Lucie Provaznikova, President of the Explorers Society, spoke to the Glasgow Guardian about her society’s difficulties. She said: “We were planning on holding a Tropical Ecology Conference at the start of the semester and a girl tweeted about it and how food would be provided. The University Court then got in touch with us and asked if we had the relevant permits and permission. We were then told that we were not allowed to provide snacks at the end of the Conference.”
Provaznikova continued: “The team leaders in charge of the expedition to Tobago were then told that they would be unable to hold the bake sale that they had organized to run in February outside the library, despite having permission. This was disputed and after some negotiations, the University permitted the bake sale to go ahead.”
Provaznikova commented on how vital bake sales are for societies with such big costs, such as the Explorers Society, where expeditions can cost between £5,000 and £22,000.
She said: ‘”This year we are organising eight expeditions and we had relied upon being able to hold between two and three bake sales per semester, per expedition, which is what we had been doing last semester. These new rules seem to have been introduced without anyone being told about it. We held them outside the Graham Kerr building and we weren’t in competition with any of the University hospitality services. We are now losing a lot of funding, as bake sales can generate over £100 each time, which if we hold them throughout the year, for each expedition, it allows us to raise over £2000 throughout the year that can go towards the expeditions. This means that this new rule where only one bake sale can be held per society per semester is very frustrating […] While the University does provide some of the funding towards our trips, which we are extremely appreciative of, it doesn’t cover the entire costs. Students have to fundraise very hard and apply for various grants from different funding bodies to make the expedition happen.”
Clare Saltiel, one of the chief co-ordinators for the Glasgow University Service to the Homeless (GUSH), who previously volunteered with Student Volunteers Abroad, spoke about how essential they are as a source of fundraising for University based charities as well as bigger societies. Saltiel said: “As students it’s difficult to come up with extravagant fundraisers and as we’re in the lucky position of being able to target the large student body as our audience, bake sales are a great and fun way to easily raise money and raise awareness for your cause.”
Saltiel also noted that they are successful at helping to raise funds, stating that at a recent bake sale held by GUSH on a rainy day, the society managed to raise “140 […] without having to spend much of GUSH’s funds in the process, as they encourage the involvement of the volunteers in baking cakes.”
These changes are in combination with further restrictions on where University Clubs and Societies can hold meetings. In a new section on the University website concerning this issue, it states that only certain buildings are available in the evenings, free of charge for Student Society Meetings. These are the Adam Smith Building and the St Andrews Building, Monday to Thursday until 9:30pm and the Boyd Orr Building, Monday to Thursday until 9:30pm and on Fridays until 8:30pm.