Students to Begin Crafts Center Fundraising

     

    Students Saving the Crafts Center — formed to raise awareness of the potential shutting down of the UCSD Crafts Center — and Crafts Center Community are seeking alternative means of fundraising that may include donor contributions after the University Centers referendum failed to pass in April.

    The University Center Advisory Board temporarily closed the Crafts Center before Fall Quarter 2012, citing issues about funding and facility maintenance. UCAB introduced a fee referendum in conjunction with A.S. Council and the Graduate Student Association that would use a portion of the funds to reopen the Crafts Center. The $11 student fee increase failed to pass during spring elections, prohibiting funding for needed maintenance.

    Among the alternatives to fund the Crafts Center’s maintenance and reopening costs is a student-run fundraiser supported by alumni and donor contributions. However, the student groups proposing this plan were not permitted to continue until fully recognized as an official fundraising entity.  

    Marina Garrett, a fifth year graduate student, represented the Crafts Center in presentations to A.S. Council and GSA and now hopes that the center can be transitioned into a profitable business model.

    “Given that there is massive student and community support for the idea that the Crafts Center is a valuable resource to the UCSD community, and that a dedicated group of individuals exists who are ready and willing to raise funds for the project and work to ensure its future success, it is unclear why the University has not allowed us to move forward with the project,” Garrett said.

    According to Sharon Van Bruggen, assistant director of University Centers at UCSD, the closure of the Crafts Center was made in context of an overall budget decision, and based in part on low student participation. 

    “The Crafts Center costs $594,000 per year to run with revenue of only $377,000,” Van Bruggen said. “Overall, less than 600 students use the Crafts Center every year. Our biggest challenge now is trying to decide how to operate and provide the same services on a smaller budget.”

    Garrett believes that the Crafts Center provides an outlet for UCSD students.

    “It was the best thing I’ve ever [done] at UCSD,” Marina said. “Glass blowing was a three-hour class, and it was a total stress reliever. It was actually one of the things that made me stay in UCSD for grad school.”

    The Crafts Center’s website currently offers a How You Can Help page, where individuals can sign a Statement of Support to reopen the Crafts Center. Crafts Center Community also held a meeting on Saturday June 1, 2013 in the Social Sciences Building Room 101 by Ridge Walk. 

    “Students Saving the Crafts Center and the Crafts Center community will continue to work to convince the University that the Craft Center is not only a valuable asset, but that a permanent closure would be a huge loss to the campus community,” Marina said. 

    Additional reporting by Aleksandra Konstantinovic.

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