By Ben Suazo, Assistant News Editor
In the latest example of a sports club struggling to remain afloat under SGA's shrinking budget, Hofstra Crew fought on Tuesday night for a $6,000 bonus to purchase a competitive, used boat.
"It seemed like we were going to lose it," said Sean Harvey, President of Hofstra Crew, after SGA finally voted 16-12-4 to approve the bonus. "[I felt] very relieved. I didn't know they [SGA] could take it back like that until today."
Harvey was prepared to miss a meeting with Crew's novice rowers Tuesday night to defend an earlier decision by the Appropriations Committee to help pay for the boat. SGA has the power to amend or reject the funds which Appropriations sets aside for a club.
"The Appropriations Committee unanimously decided to give them the boat. There was just an issue of how much we could give," said Nicholas Gomez, Appropriations Chair, after Tuesday's senate. Including funding for Crew, SGA awarded $30,000 of its $70,000 fall budget in only the first round of club appropriations. Of that $30,000, $10,000 went to the Inter-Fraternity and Sorority Council and $9,000 to Hofstra Concerts.
Senators objected to giving 8.5% of the semester's total budget to Crew because the club already has seven boats that have passed inspection.
"It could inhibit new clubs from being started," said Senator Robert Canobbio, referring to the large funds awarded to the individual Crew club. Other senators argued that SGA can no longer support sports clubs and said those clubs should be moved into the domain of the Recreation Center.
Allie Socha, a coxswain for Hofstra Crew, acknowledged that this might be an option.
"I think we should be closer linked to the Rec Center," Socha said. "My biggest concern is if the Rec Center can support us. It will depend on which group can fund us more appropriately."
Harvey believes the boat is a special opportunity for Crew. "A new boat is at least $16,000, so to get this deal from another team was amazing," he said. ""It's a very good boat and a good deal [$9,000]—everyone was shocked we were getting this boat."
Crew is lpoking to buy the boat, which holds 4 women and a coxswain, from Our Lady of Mercy Academy on Long Island. The purchase will replace a 28-year-old boat that Harvey says is too heavy to compete with modern carbon fiber boats.
To close the gap after SGA funding, Crew, which already requires $350 fees from its members, will continue fundraising. Appropriations reported that last year Crew made $700 from T-shirt sales and $600 from bake sales.
Crew will be racing for five weekends this Fall. Although Crew bid to have one men's and one women's boat compete in the race, only their women's boat was accepted; last year only their men's boat raced.
"We're engineers, teachers and poli sci majors representing Hofstra against Division I programs," Socha said. With better equipment, Socha believes that Hofstra Crew can continue to gain recognition at the massive Charles River event. "Last year I was wearing a Hofstra Crew jacket…and Boston students recognized Hofstra from Long Island, and said ‘We're so glad Hofstra's here.' That gets overlooked a lot…That's what I want people to see, we're not just a group of people that row boats."