After some confusion and a few motivated club members, cookie liberation is once again coming to Recognized Student Club/Organizations at Mercyhurst University, as the administration reverses its policy that prohibited bake sales in academic buildings on campus.
The movement that spurred the recent change began last year when the Anthropology Alub attempted to host a bake sale in the lobby of Zurn Hall, only to find out that the rule had been rewritten since the previous year; clubs bake sales were now limited to being held in the Student Union.
“We decided to follow the rules,” Club President and Senior Anthropology Major Nathan Klembara said. “In one day we made $5, because people, when they go to the Student Union, are not there to buy baked goods. They are there because they already have prepaid meal plans.”
This year, on Monday, March 3, the club, led by Klembara, decided to hold a bake sale in the lobby of Zurn after obtaining permission from Provost and Dean of The Zurn School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, J.M Adovasio, Ph.D., D.Sc. to do so.
Like baker’s yeast, the tension quickly began to rise.
“Within 20 minutes, we were already having people from the Performing Arts Center and other administration come down and tell us that we need to stop, but we didn’t until we officially got a cease and desist email [from the RSCO Office] between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. that afternoon,” Klembara explained.
By the time the email was received, the club had already generated $100 in profit. The club then proceeded to visit the RSCO Office to apologize for the misconduct, as well as address concern about the restrictive bake sale policy.
According to Klembara, the club members were told by RSCO liaison Kristy Jamison that the policy existed to discourage students from eating and leaving crumbs and food remnants on the floor for maintenance to clean.
“My bake sale was held in front of a vending machine in Zurn,” Klembara said. Jamison said in a prepared statement that the rule preventing food and drink inside classrooms came about “due to complaints from faculty, staff and students that the Zurn lobby and classrooms were left in poor condition because of the lack of clean-up done by RSCOs after their bake sales.”
That same week, after “a RSCO did not follow the proper policy to hold a bake sale” and “spurred a discussion on why bake sales were not allowed in Zurn… Many administrators came together to discuss the pros and cons of allowing RSCOs to hold bake sales in Zurn lobby,” Jamison said.
“Then the Vice President of Student Life [Laura Zirkle, Ph.D.] and the Campus Involvement Center administrators agreed by allowing RSCOs to have bake sales in Zurn lobby, it would help RSCOs raise more funds.”
On Friday, March 7, an email from Director for Campus Involvement Center Sarah Allen was sent out, announcing that the policy had been reversed; club bake sales were again permitted in academic buildings around campus.
“I think this was an example that an administration can listen,” Klembara said. “In less than a day, they were already talking [about the issue] with all the higher-ups; and yet, most of the time it feels that students are not listened to.”
“I just think they need to work harder in the future to actually listen” Klembara continued. “…obviously things can get back to them, and they can make change, and they can do it pretty quickly.”
“The intent of the Campus Involvement Center is to work with our RSCOs to try and make them as successful as possible,” Jamison said. “…this is one instance where we heard concerns and put them to action.”
For more information about RSCOs and ideas on how to improve them, contact Kristy Jamison at firstname.lastname@example.org