MSU's concessions offers club teams and nonprofits chance to earn money
MSU club sports are student funded since they don't receive funds from the MSU Athletic Department.
One club uses the hectic atmosphere of MSU's campus on football Saturdays as a fundraising opportunity. On football Saturdays, the men’s crew team ushers for the games and works with MSU Concessions at other sporting and special events.
Head of fundraising for the team Lucas Erway said when the team ushers football games, they receive a lump sum at the end of each semester from MSU.
“When we go to an ushering event, we have a roster that we put into MSU that will say we have 25 people working, they were here from this time to this time, and they’ll give us a portion of the funds that the entire stadium gets based on the workers that we have,” Erway said.
For events where the men’s rowing team works concessions in accordance with MSU Concessions, Erway said about 10 rowers work and they can calculate how much food they sold based on how much they started and ended with.
“Rather than people paying out of pocket and then earning the money back, we almost have it set up as a sheet where you will get an earned amount,” Erway said. “If you work a concession event, you earned $40 towards the team and that is taken off your (dues) that you’re expected to make at the end of each (semester).”
The men’s rowing team is the most consistent team to work with MSU Concessions that made it through the application process, along with several other organizations that have worked with MSU Concessions for more than 35 years, MSU Concessions Manager Alan Wilkinson said.
Changing leadership within the groups can make the partnership difficult, Wilkinson said.
“It’s really dependent on how good the leaders are at rallying the troops and how organized they are,” Wilkinson said. “We can’t afford people not showing up.”
Even with being reliant on groups such as the men’s rowing team, Wilkinson said using “nonprofit volunteer groups” is the “best practice throughout the industry,” since an approximately 800-person staff is required for an MSU football game.
“It’d be hard to hire that many people for seven days a year and have it work out correctly,” Wilkinson said.
They paid out $380,000 in commissions to groups that volunteered to work these events such as football in the 2015-16 fiscal year.
“For so many groups it’s a great opportunity to come together, for camaraderie and we always say, ‘Be part of the fun,’” Wilkinson said. “Folks are here and they want to see a Spartan victory and want to see a great game and if concessions can be part of that experience … that’s a win for our team.”
Events like football games combined with Rent-a-Rower are also a win for the men’s rowing team, as these events lowered the money the varsity athletes on the club team from $2,500 per person to be a member of the team last year to $800 this year.
“It’s great to see them being more active this year than in recent years,” men’s rowing head coach Bryan Pape said. “Over the course of the year, the athletes have been increasingly involved.”
Erway said this also brings the team together.
“I’m not exactly mad that we usher or do concessions,” Erway said. “It’s a bunch of the dudes that you hang out with anyways, and you get to move along drunk people or make (bratwursts). It ends up being some fun times.”