By Nathan Schmidt
Improv theater and real financial hardship mixed this week when the Council of Student Organizations staged a live, unscripted and unintentional re-enactment of a famous bank run scene in cinema. The classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, released in 1946, includes a moment during which everyone in town rushes to withdraw their funds from a bank that lacks the reserve to pay them all. And in perfect parallel, the beleaguered students of COSO found that they were in the exact same position.
The turn of events came about when students from all different organizations realized that there wasn’t enough money in COSO’s reserve to pay the budgets that they had already approved for the remainder of the semester. Events only became further complicated when Dr. Walden Paxley from the university administration offered to pay COSO’s debts to students at fifty cents on the dollar. No one missed the implication that in the future, the campus faculty might directly control all student group budgets.
Holding a massive crowd of worried students at bay in the COSO office doorway, FUSA member Hayley Tahoma ‘19 addressed the impromptu audience in perfect dramatic form.
“If Paxley gets hold of this office, there’ll never be another decent student organization in this university. They’ve already got charge of The Mirror. They’ve got the campus tours. They’ve got the internships. And now they’re after us.”
Once the initial panic had been quelled and students were no longer clamoring for COSO’s financial collapse, a desperate ad hoc situation ensued where COSO officials tried to pay student groups the bare minimum that they needed to get through the semester.
“I got three hundred dollars left in my budget, Hayley,” said Jared Gammen ‘22, the head of a new student group advocating the reduced use of Axe by freshman athletes.
“Aw, now, Jared … what’ll it take till the semester’s over?” asked Hayley. “How much do you need?”
“Well, I guess twenty dollars,” Jared offered.
And so the scene went, one student group after another receiving the bare minimum it needed to survive through finals season. Ultimately, when everyone had been paid off to their satisfaction, the COSO budget reserve contained exactly $2.00, leaving the group solvent and able to continue functioning on paper until the new budget cycle in the fall.
“Look, we’re still in business!” exclaimed an ecstatic Hayley to her fellow impoverished and frazzled COSO officials, once office hours were over and the door was locked. “We’ve still got two bucks left!”
After the impromptu theater of the day, students were left wondering what sort of movie COSO will pay homage to in the fall. Since no one knew any movies from before 2005, options ranged in the ballpark between The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short.