Past Beer Nation Signators Acted “Funny With Money,” Current Leadership Says
When Funding Circus results for the Fall 2023 semester were released on Friday, September 23rd, many students noticed that Beer Nation, a historic club and an integral Reed tradition, only received 0.5% of the funds that they requested for the semester, despite being voted 10th in Funding Poll. The Quest sat down with the Student Body Treasury to discuss the reason for this surprising lack of funding. Student Body Vice Treasurer, Wani Pandey, stated that last year Beer Nation had neglected many of their responsibilities to the student body, and because of this negligence, Senate and Treasury saw that a re-evaluation of the club was necessary to continue forward. In order to see that the club succeeds while in line with rules and regulations, Treasury has asked Beer Nation to present a budget and plan for one beer garden, and to see money made from the garden come back to Treasury by the following Monday. This 21+ beer garden will be happening on Friday, October 28 to celebrate Oktoberfest, with $5 Kombucha passes and $10 beer passes.
Beer Nation is the only club that is allowed to not only serve alcohol, but also sell products to students. Because of this, they have a specific relationship with the student body funds allocated to them. When Beer Nation sells wristbands for beer gardens, their profits are supposed to go to Treasury and the Student Body Fund. In other words, Treasury invests money into Beer Nation and expects some level of return. Last semester, Beer Nation was allocated $21,926, with $10,000 going towards beer purchases and the rest going towards licensing for pourers, meeting and equipment costs, and other costs for the proper functioning of the club. However, at the end of the spring semester, Beer Nation gave back $1,935 out of $21,926, which is an 8.8% return of funds to the student body.
Moreover, according to Treasury, the previous head of Beer Nation consistently misreported how much money the club had returned to the student body. On March 18, 2022, an $800 return was reported, but the Senate only received $640. On April 14, a $600 return was reported but only $490 received. And, on May 23, roughly $1000 was reported and only $805 was received. Treasury discussed these inconsistencies with Beer Nation, but no clear answer as to why they were happening was provided. Pandey stated that a 10% return rate is fine, however, this expectation has to be clearly set in order for students to be aware of this low return rate when casting their votes during Funding Circus.
Maintaining equipment in order to limit the need for one time purchases is also necessary for the club, due to the high expenses of such purchases. In the Fall 2022 budget for Beer Nation, Treasury saw requests for many one-time purchases that had already been made in previous years, which led to concerns regarding equipment upkeep and management. This previous summer, the Office for Student Engagement found 62 unattended kegs across campus, and after emailing the previous head of Beer Nation about this issue, received no response. If kegs belonging to Beer Nation had been properly collected and returned during the year by the previous club leader, the deposit on the kegs could have been provided to Treasury. This is another reason why Treasury deemed a renewed emphasis on rules and procedures necessary for the future success of Beer Nation.
The Quest also sat down with the current signators of Beer Nation to discuss the role of the club within the student body and Reed’s line of historic traditions. Put in their own words: “We throw six beer gardens a year that are 21+, and we play a big part in Spring/Fall and Renn Fayre. We give juniors and seniors a great opportunity to bond and build community with each other as well as opening some gardens to professors and alumni, which helps build the greater Reed community. We are also some of the last people on this campus truly dedicated to having a good time.”
Beer Nation does help students on campus have a good time by providing spaces to drink safely and to celebrate academic success, and beer gardens are not the only way they do it. Traditionally, Beer Nation also distributes champagne for Renn Fayre and Spring/Fall seniors.
However, Beer Nation provided no champagne to last year’s Renn Fayre. Upon discovering this, members of Senate and Treasury went to check the Beer Nation closet and found it unlocked and opened. Pandey remarked that this event was “shocking and stressful” because that closet is where all of the club’s alcohol is stored and it should not be accessible for all students. Providing champagne for celebrations such as Renn Fayre, and making sure that alcohol is consumed by students who are 21+ are key responsibilities of Beer Nation. This event was another reason that a re-evaluation of the club’s budget and role seemed pertinent to Senate and Treasury.
The current heads of Beer Nation are working with Senate, Treasury, and the Office of Student Engagement to rectify some of the mistakes made by previous heads of the club. They resolved that “in our last budget meeting [Treasury] seemed apologetic that we couldn’t get Top 40 Funding because of past signators acting funny with the money and said that they trust us as signators to do what must be done.” Senate has also claimed that they truly want Beer Nation to succeed, while also upholding their financial responsibilities. Both groups have maintained that there is no bad blood between them and that they are looking forward to future Beer Nation events this year.