A $10,000 donation by the students’ union to anti-cancer fundraiser Relay for Life raised some questions among students unaware of the origin of the fundraised money. The Yellow Ribbon Society, a now-defunct club and society dedicated to fundraising for cancer research, originally raised the funds.
The students who came forward with complaints were largely satisfied once they learned of the circumstances, said Mount Allison Students’ Union (MASU) President Melissa O’Rourke.
MASU Councillor Allie Morrison said of a student who approached her: “Knowing [the situation], they don’t have a concern about the donation.”
O’Rourke described the Yellow Ribbon Society as “a club that did a lot of fundraising for cancer research. One of their primary areas that they would donate to every year was the Relay for Life.”
“The society became defunct in May, and they had $10,000 dollars in their bank account. We thought that it would be inappropriate to absorb the money into our own accounts, given that it was all raised by fundraising and through students, so we donated it,” she said.
O’Rourke explained that defunct clubs and societies usually have either a “small amount in their accounts, around $100, or a deficit.” In the case of the Yellow Ribbon Society, the figure was $10,421.79.
“There were a couple of students that were thinking that the students’ union had donated $10,000 of student money to Relay for Life, which is untrue, considering that it was money that was fundraised with the intent to be donated to cancer research,” the MASU president argued.
Section five of the MASU operating procedures, regarding student groups, outlines the way in which the Yellow Ribbon Society ceased to be a MASU sponsored organization: A club or society is “closed” if “there have been three consecutive years of inactivity. Inactivity is defined as there being no deposits/withdrawals into their account and none of the original members being registered Mount Allison students.”
The operating procedures of MASU state that “Upon closing a club, all funds in their account will be allocated within the SAC budget for that academic year at the discretion of the Vice-President, Finance and Operations, in consultation with the Executive Committee.”
Ryan Reid is a fifth-year Bachelor of Commerce student and the student chair for the Sackville-Mount Allison Relay for Life team. Relay for Life was pleased to receive the donation.
Reid said the funds that are raised stay local: “All fundraised money stays in the province. A lot of programs are awareness driven, or support programs.” For a comprehensive breakdown of the usage of funds, Reid recommended visiting the Canadian Cancer Society’s website.
This year marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of Relay for Life. According the Canadian Cancer Society website, in 2012 there were 17,265 Relay for Life rallies across Canada that raised about $51 million. The Relay for Life site states that Canadian fundraising is a part of “a global movement against cancer, taking place in twenty countries worldwide, including over 500 communities across Canada.”
O’Rourke said the donation meant that the money had found its way to the proper place, but that “it just came a few years later than expected.”