On any given day, the hallway that leads to the Oak Room and the cafeteria is lined with tables manned by students who wanting money and time.
Seymour Gallery tabling is a familiar sight for any Knox student, but it is easy to pass them by without giving them a second thought. However, when tabling is examined as a fundraising option, it turns out to be an optimal choice.
“Everyone passes by every day,” sophomore Sean Nolan said while he was selling jewelry for Sigma Chi’s “Beads for Life” effort to help women in Uganda. “It’s the best place on campus.”
In a survey of 100 Knox students, 78 percent said that they had given money to a cause tabling in the Gallery and 57 percent of students said they were more likely to help a cause if it had a table.
Despite the success of this kind of fundraising, it still has its downsides.
“The entire tabling process is made of awkward,” Nolan said.
Most students seemed to agree that the correct approach to tabling can vastly decrease embarrassment. Students agreed that having a partner behind the table makes them feel less uncomfortable. The tablers can make potential donors feel more at ease if they do not push their cause too hard.
“If people are interested, they’re interested,” senior Ryan Larson said. “It’s not my job [as a tabler] to make people feel uncomfortable.”
Sadly, not every person behind the table shares this philosophy, and it can give gallery tabling a bad name.
“Occasionally tablers are too aggressive,” sophomore Lauren Styczynski said, but “in general, it’s a nice way to get the word out about organizations and events.”
One of the most common criticisms of Seymour Gallery fundraising is the fact that students do not carry money on their person when they eat in the cafeteria, but Nolan said that this is not a problem. If someone actually wants to give money, they will remember to bring cash back later in the week. Nolan went onto say that that is one of the reasons that events tend to make most of their money in the last few days of fundraising.
Not every group asks for money. The Japanese Club/Rotaract Club paper crane drive collected 1,300 paper cranes and raised $2,000 for rebuilding in the wake of this spring’s earthquake and tsunami. A thank you note to the dining services crew garnered 500 signatures and the “End the Word Campaign” to end the use of the word “retard” was also very popular on campus. Eighty-six percent of students surveyed said they had given to a gallery activity that did not ask for cash.