Investigation of Charity Ball Stirs Mixed Emotions

As a previous Coordinator for Charity Ball 2006-2007, I rightfully demand an apology for the Cord’s attack on the integrity of Charity Ball.

It’s unsettling to see such negativity for a wonderful organization that helps the community.
You stated that $2000 was the approximate charitable donation historically made by CB, but I’ll have you know that my wonderful execs (Caroline, Cristina, Laura, Jenny, and Carolyn) along with our 26 general volunteers (including both Daliah Hijazi and Claire Petch) all worked together in raising $8,443.71 to GRH Pediatrics/Childrens Services.

While it did take me over a year to get that cheque to GRH, as WLUSU’s finance department seemed a bit unorganized, GRH got their money, making it Charity Ball’s largest donation in recent years.

When at its full potential, CB can have some excellent results–not only with raising money, but with creating awareness for the Charity and getting the Laurier Community to work together.
WLUSU isn’t perfect, and I have had my issues with it–but that’s not to say I didn’t love every moment that I was apart of it, and of Charity Ball.

There’s so much more to CB than it’s donation. Love. Friendship. Passion. Support. Growth. Knowledge. Change. 

It is ridiculous to compare CB to other SA affairs. Sure, CB might be a bit ‘weaker’ in the donations department compared to the bigger hitters like L.U.C.K and Shinerama, but ultimately it is still for charity, and I whole-heartily believe Claire will do me proud this year as coordinator. CB love!

–Darcy Maslen, Charity Ball Co-ordinator 2006-2007

The Cord’s recent article on Charity Ball demonstrates both the bias of the Cord’s writing staff and their inability to research anything beyond their immediate grasp.

Here are a few salient points:

–Charity Ball 2007 raised over $8,000 in cash for Grand River Hospital. This is hardly a pittance. Charity Ball 2006 also raised a large amount, donating somewhere in the vicinity of $2,000. While we cannot speak to the difference in 2009’s revenue, it does not typify Charity Ball’s donation.
–Charity Balls are a standard practice at large universities across Canada, they are not an event created by WLUSU.
–Comparing L.U.C.K. to Charity Ball is an apples-to-oranges scenario. L.U.C.K.’s Charity Auction is financially sound. It also uses WLUSU facilities and as such does not pay fees. The two events are on completely different scales (hence why two events are offered instead of one).

The Cord has historically exhibited a rush to judgment where WLUSU events are concerned.  
While this vindictive behavior may entertain, it is not supported by fact, and demonstrates the low quality of penmanship our newspaper has been reduced to.

I would encourage the Cord to spend a little bit more time researching their articles before sending them off to the presses – or, wild as this suggestion might be, why not try volunteering with WLUSU for once?

I assure you, the skills gained from these positions are invaluable, and far more beneficial than an ill-written byline.

–Caroline Marshall, Volunteer/Decorations Executive, Charity Ball 2007

Editor’s note: The Cord requested to see a record of Charity Ball’s previous donations; however, WLUSU vice-president of finance and administration was unable to access these numbers.

In regards to reactions that sprung up over Ms. Wallace’s article “It feels like fraud”, I think people need to get over this insane desire to unravel a deep and mysterious conspiracy because one just doesn’t exist here. 

Despite being (selectively) quoted in that article, I think that the focus was very accusatory and WLUSU’s recent reaction of trying to justify its budgeting via “Updates from the President” is totally off the mark.

No one cares about “zero-based budgeting” since the real issue here is simple.

What kind of event do students want Charity Ball to be?  That’s what WLUSU needs to find out and students… you need to provide that answer. 

If you want a classy night out then you are implicitly asking for chocolate fountains and extravagance, which reduces the amount of revenue that goes to charity. 

If you want something simpler, and thus a larger charitable donation, then communicate this to WLUSU! 

Start going to Board meetings, send emails to your Chair of the Board and the President. 
If you don’t like the amount donated by Charity Ball then do something about it – force the Board to pass policy on how donated (ie. auction) materials are used and enforce a minimum percentage of revenue to be donated. 

Students need to remember that the Union can’t read minds, they need your input. 
Stop complaining when an event doesn’t go the way you think it should and instead start telling them what you expect before you buy your ticket.

–Asif Bacchus

Disgust, embarrassment, and outrage… those were my initial reactions to this article. 

My next reaction was that I should bring my 8-year old daughter to the WLU campus to teach our Charity Ball Executive members a little bit about charity. 

Two years ago, at the very young age of 6, my daughter Hayley held a fundraising party for World Vision rather than her birthday party.

Hayley and her 20 little classmates raised just over $450 to spend in the World Vision Christmas Catalogue (gifts included school supplies, mosquito nets, mobile medical clinics, fruit trees, antibiotics for children in developing countries etc.). 

A group of six-year old children made a charitable donation nearly double the amount of that made by WLU Charity Ball 2009. 

Is it just me, or is there something very wrong with this picture?

Given the new WLU Statement of Values, Vision and Mission “to inspire lives of leadership and purpose,” WLUSU should be ashamed of its pitiable donation and should scrap their $30,000 gala in 2010 for a concentrated effort to actually “inspire lives of leadership and purpose”. 

Would it really be that difficult to host a gala that was more cost-efficient (say around $15,000 or so) so that the generous WLU students who bought charity ball tickets (assuming that a significant portion of the proceeds would be going to charity) would be able to enjoy a fun night out while feeling proud of the difference their donation made? 

I really hope that students demand accountability and transparency from WLUSU or better yet, abandon Charity Ball altogether this year and instead make individual donations to the charities of their choice.

–Jane Whalen, PhD Candidate