Wilbur and Wilma will be playing capture the flag on the University of Arizona Mall, Tuesday thanks to the Bobcats Senior Honorary.
The Bobcats are responsible for activities happening on the Mall during Homecoming week, including capture the Wilbur and Wilma Tuesday, Jenga and pie eating Wednesday and a mud tug Thursday. The honorary will also be hosting Club Olympics.
However, finding the funding for these Mall activities was more difficult for the Bobcats this year.
Marc Acuña, advisor to the Bobcats and vice president of student and alumni engagement for the UA Alumni Association, said the Mall events cost around $7,000.
“Mud tug is very expensive itself. It's almost $5,000,” Acuña said. “I'd say a good $7,000 we spend within that week, and that includes set up for facilities, the sound, getting the mud there. Facilities is amazing, they help us with that entire week. The gentlemen that are out there doing the mud, they make it perfect and pushing it so no one's feet get cut. It is a cool experience for everybody.”
Melinda Burke, president of the Alumni Association, said Bobcats' funding was cut because it was “good business."
“Frankly, because you have to make sure that you're spending your money in ways that make good sense, we felt, as much as we love the mud tug, that we had to get campus support to continue doing the mud tug,” Burke said. “We can't bear that expense all on our own. Fortunately, we did get campus support.”
At the Sept. 25 Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate meeting, the Bobcats requested $2,500 from the senate.
“What we do during Homecoming is basically all of it,” said Bobcats member Phil Fromm at the meeting.
The Bobcats told the senate the money would be used to reserve Mall space and pay for materials for the upcoming Mall activities.
“We need monetary assistance to continue these traditions,” Fromm told the senate.
The senate created stipulations for agreeing to fund the Bobcats, including using ASUA branding and philanthropic efforts for Campus Pantry, and then approved the full amount at their Oct. 9 meeting.
ASUA Executive Vice President Bennett Adamson clarified at the Oct. 23 senate meeting why the Bobcats needed the funding request, even though they had recently traveled to the University of Southern California.
“Bobcats as a student organization has its own set of funding, and there's certainly the alumni that help fund that,” Adamson said at the meeting. “Because Homecoming is an Alumni Association event, the budget is different … That's really the clarifying point.”
Adamson also explained why the Bobcats approached the senate instead of the appropriations board.
“If they went to [appropriations], they would just get a check,” he said. “If you come to senate, there's the stipulations.”
Acuña confirmed that the Bobcats have multiple responsibilities during Homecoming week.
“Throughout the year, [the Bobcats] host events, like, they're in charge of the parade, we do Club Olympics all week long during Homecoming,” Acuña said. “They choose the queens, they do the whole queen selection process. We do the royalty; the top five kings and queens come together. We actually do the whole voting process together. We light the 'A' on fire and many other philanthropy events throughout the year.”
The Bobcats do not profit from organizing these events, according to Burke.
“It's all about building community,” Burke said. “Believe me, they do not profit. In fact, the Alumni Association underwrites most of the costs for Homecoming. Every year, we do it because we want to support this major event and bring community to campus, but we never make money on it.”
Follow Priya Jandu on Twitter