Students approve lighting purchase

by Katie Shaw

The student body voted in favor of purchasing new event lighting, using roughly $8,200 from Whitworth’s Capital Fund. The proposal passed by a wide margin Oct. 15.

Of the 515 students who voted, nearly 90 percent voted in favor of buying the lights, Executive Vice President Audrey Evans said.

The lighting equipment includes a switchboard, fader, stands, cords and the lights themselves, Sports Events Coordinator Cody DeJardin said. The lights initially cost $9,837.24. However, the price was reduced to $8,283.78, including tax, said Matthew Valdez, ASWU financial vice president. All the money for the lights will be paid upfront

In the past, event coordinators rented lights for school functions, such as Midnight Madness, concerts and the Stewart Lawn Dance. The school spends an average of $700 per event on lighting, but prices can range from $500-$1,500 for each rental, DeJardin said. This year, renting the lights for Midnight Madness would have cost nearly $1,000, he said.

In addition to the cost, the process of renting the is a hassle, requiring the event coordinator to requisition money each time the lights are needed, DeJardin said.

“Midnight Madness is something that has become kind of a staple,” Valdez said. “The sports events coordinator would have to come in and requisition for the money to rent the lights, it was very well received. But now, since we’ve also been bringing some bigger groups to campus, that being Mat Kearney and Jon Foreman, that were part of a bigger stage, we’ve also been using them for that.”

The money for the rented lights came from an unallocated account, which accumulates any surplus from budgeting. The money to buy the lights, however, will come from Whitworth’s Capital Fund, Valdez said. Any money not used in various ASWU accounts goes into the Capital Fund, which carries over from year to year. Equipment purchased using money from the Capital Fund must feasibly last the student body five years or more.

The lights are rented at least twice every year, and rental fees add up quickly, Valdez said.

Even with only one event per year, the equipment would pay for itself in five years with money saved from rental fees, Valdez said. If Whitworth uses the lights two or three times a year, will only take one and a half to two years for the equipment to pay for itself, he said.

The Capital Fund started at $36,000 this year, Valdez said. The lights will use about one fourth of this year’s fund. Since there was a surplus from the budget last year, there is enough money to spend on lights and other purchases, DeJardin said.

Whitworth bylaws allow purchases of less than $600 to be made by the Finance Committee without the approval of ASWU. When the cost is between $600 and $5,000, ASWU assembles to vote on the proposition. Any proposal greater than $5,000 requires the a vote of the entire student body.

“I would just like students to know that this money is their money,” Valdez said. “So we invite them to take interest in how it’s being spent.”

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