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With a landslide win of 242 votes, the student organization Queer People of Color (QPoC) received $1,600 from the department of theatre and dance’s Butts for Bucks program this year.
Butts for Bucks, which is in its fourth year, was the idea of Professor of Theatre and Dance Shirley Huston-Findley “to get attendance from the community and students to the theatre and dance productions,” according to Patrice Smith, the administrative coordinator for the department. “She wanted to offer something substantial by reaching out to student groups and offering them $1,000 to bring as many people from their organization and guests to the theatre and dance productions,” said Smith. The public relations student employees for the department of theatre and dance advertise this opportunity to student groups by sending emails to the presidents and handing out flyers at Scot Spirit Day.
The first year that Butts for Bucks was implemented, the attendance to the theatre and dance productions went up by approximately 25 percent, and the department has seen a less drastic but consistent increase in attendance every year since. This year was the first time that the department started giving smaller incentives for the student organization that received the most votes at each individual show. $100 was given for the fall production, $200 for “The Normal Heart” and $300 for the Spring Dance Concert. This new initiative was started to encourage student groups to continue to bring out members and supporters throughout the year. “Clearly, we saw where results were coming in, and it sort of ranges between maybe three organizations that are out there so we don’t want the other organizations to just totally give up,” explained Smith. QPoC won each incentive this year in addition to the final $1,000.
Co-President of QPoC Cesar Lopez ’21 said that he was shocked at the support his organization received. “QPoC as an organization is small. So to have won overall by a landslide but also to have won the three incentives was very shocking, because it’s like, ‘who is actually voting?’” he said. “At events or at meetings, there isn’t a large turnout, but we understand that a lot of folks don’t have the time and have busy schedules, so that’s fine. But that’s why winning the overall thing and even the incentives was just a real big surprise, because there isn’t ever a large turnout to a lot of QPoC things.”
Lopez encourages students to continue their support for QPoC by attending events, open meetings, closed meetings if they are a queer student of color and recommending ideas for programming. “Now we have $1,600 for a bunch of small programming things that we could do. Giving us recommendations for what they want to see us do with that money would help guide us to using it the most effective way possible,” he said.
Laney Zuver ’21, a public relations student employee for the department of theatre and dance, hopes that more student organizations will participate in the Butts for Bucks program in the future. “We only had nine student groups that participated, which is insane for the amount of money you can win,” she said. Zuver explained that the public relations team is small but continues to grow every year and will be doing more to raise awareness about the Butts for Bucks program in the future. She encouraged student groups to participate because, as she stated, “It’s definitely attainable for any student group.”