Be Out Day loses sponsor; goes on

Be Out Day is approaching and the Florida A&M University’s Student Government Association has many concerns.

The April 15 event will proceed as scheduled, but not before losing a major sponsor.

Kimberly-Clark has been the signature sponsor for Be Out Day for over seven years, but the company decided not to sponsor the event.

Kimberly-Clark is better known for brands such as Scott and Kleenex.

The company was responsible for about 65 percent of the funding for Be Out Day, which helped SGA pay for banners, signs, tents, foods, etc.

The sponsorship has dwindled in recent years, yet it has not halted the success of the event.

“The Kimberly-Clark Foundation is a strong supporter of this event and we have to choose which events we will sponsor each year,” said Carolyn Mentesana, vice president of the foundation.

Mentesana said the company gave $1.5 million to the Tsunami victims and $1.5 million to the Katrina victims this year. She said, “It comes down to the pushes and pulls on our budget. It is no reflection of Be Out Day. It comes down to the demands on our contribution budget.”

Mentesana said because Kimberly-Clark is expected to provide health and hygiene products over the world, they “had to make some tough decisions” to benefit others.

FAMU’s Sponsorship Office is responsible for finding sponsors for SGA, among other organizations at the university.

They have made strong efforts in recently to bring in public intellectual and Princeton professor Cornel West and in gaining donations for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

This year, they will have to find a new primary sponsor for the event.

Along with sponsorship, SGA’s other concern lies on the smaller budget that it must deal with this year.

There have been budget constraints for the last few years.

Part of the problem is derived from the decrease in money received from the activity and service fee that is automatically assessed to all registered students.

This fee is not in direct correlation with enrollment It depends on the number of credit hours a student takes.

“Our funds are in a retrenchment and we’ve had to find new ways to raise money. It’s tough when you have a partner (who) decide not to assist. It’s not because of the outcome of last year’s event, because we had a great outcome,” said Dwayne Cole, SGA adviser since August.

Many companies are interested in becoming a consistent sponsor for Be Out Day.

The office of sponsorship dealt with Boeing, which agreed to become an official sponsor.

“It is good that we start new relationships with potential companies. Kimberly-Clark had exclusive rights, but now we can deal with multiple entities for funding, which helps to diversify our program,” Cole said.

The A&S Committee has cut the budget almost in half as compared to last year.

“We are trying to lead by example. We have partnered with local vendors in order to cushion our costs so we can offer the same amount of service as we did in the past. Because it is a community event, we do not charge,” said Alexia Robinson, public relations officer for SGA.

The entertainment committee is working to secure Field Mob, Yung Joc and other popular acts.

The budget for the event is close to $40,000, which would make it possible to get a high-quality entertainer and still provide excellent service.

SGA has considered the fair grounds as a potential site in the past, but has never made the move.

“We thought about holding Be Out Day at the fair grounds, but it is a FAMU program and holding it on FAMU grounds is the FAMU way,” Cole said.

“Many students look forward to this outing because it is like a spring homecoming event. I been to Be Out Day in the past and have really liked what I saw,” said Ronald Elfrard, 25, a psychology graduate student in.

“I hope it gets better every year because it is for everyone.”

Contact Donnell Jean at