Alternative newsmag faces financial trouble

To save their two-year-old publication, The Water Tower hopes to raise enough money to pull out of printing debt.The group was fundraising in the Davis Center on March 6. Hoping to save their student-run paper from being cut off from the Student Government Association’s (SGA) funding.”It’s been long coming, but at the same time we didn’t quite see it coming, and we’re a little bit blindsided but at the same time we’re doing what we can to fix it,” Sophomore and Editor-in-Chief Lea McLellan said. “We’re appealing to the student body to help us get back into the green.”SGA Business and Accounting Specialist Blanka Caha said that The Water Tower overspent their funding by almost $4,000 in the last fiscal year.This deficit was expected to be reconciled in fall 2008, but The Water Tower’s revenue for that semester came to $1,000, Caha said.”I know that [The Water Tower] has been frustrated by the financial difficulties left to them by the previous club leadership as well as the tough time they’ve had selling ad space in this economic climate,” SGA President Jay Taylor said. “Making a club financially viable isn’t always easy, especially when you are spending money every week to print newspapers.”After the SGA and The Water Tower met to discuss the club’s financial future, the SGA gave the Water Tower until March 16 to demonstrate their ability to generate revenue. After that time, their financial situation will be re-evaluated and the future of the publication will be decided at that point, Caha said.Because of the lack of ad revenue, fund raising ideas that have been developed by The Water Tower instead have been front page ads asking for donations, events with games and, most recently, a public date auction held in the Davis Center atrium.”Anyone who is affiliated with The Water Tower can put their picture down for the silent auction,” UVM freshman and Water Tower artist Kelly MacIntyre said, explaining the date auction.The Water Tower has been looking to the student body for their help.”At this point in our funding situation we need the support of the student body, and we’ve been getting it,” McLellan said. “Last year we were throwing away stacks of papers and this year they’re pretty much gone before the week is out. So we’re really looking to expand our paper, not have it cut.”Possible negative consequences that The Water Tower will face if it fails to meet the SGA’s fund raising requirements could include a scaling down of the frequency of printing or discontinuation of printing altogether, Caha said.”We will continue to provide assistance to clubs that need it and ask for it if they are willing to put the time into balancing their budgets and fundraising,” Taylor said. “I think The Water Tower is on the right track.”