By Kelsi Peace, Staff Writer
When a box of Clif Bars intended for the Outdoor Club arrived in the Students’ Association office addressed to Melanie Booker, SA vice president, students ate the bars, leaving SA and the Outdoor Club to find a way to pay for the missing snacks.
The Outdoor Club ordered the Clif bars through the International Mountain Biking Association, intending to use them for an adventure race this May.
The group intended to use any leftover bars during other events the Outdoor Club will have, such as canoeing, biking, running or bike trail clearing events.
Of the 96 bars sent to the Outdoor Club, 43 were eaten, leaving only 53 bars for use.
The bars, which were mailed to the Outdoor Club on Feb. 24, still had not surfaced on campus by spring break. So on March 30, Dusty Vaughn, president of the Outdoor Club and senior biology major from Spring Hill, Tenn., contacted Austin Brennen, SA chief financial officer, who helped him locate the half-empty box of bars.
Vaughn immediately scheduled a meeting with SA to discuss possible solutions.
The confusion occurred because the Outdoor Club used SA’s credit card to order the Clif Bars, which listed the SA address on the box instead of the Outdoor Club’s address.
“I glanced at the label, and it was really easy to see how that happened,” said Brett Deaton, vice president of the Outdoor Club.
SA usually keeps food in the office, said SA president Justin Scott, so he said the misunderstanding was logical.
“[Students] probably assumed that the Clif Bars were in that category and went ahead and ate the bars without knowing that the Clif Bars had been ordered by the Outdoor Club for a specific purpose.”
Deaton, senior physics major from Staunton, Va., said he was frustrated that no one asked before opening the box, but said it was “an understandable mistake.”
Tyler Cosgrove, SA treasurer, was unable to attend the meeting scheduled with the Outdoor Club, so Scott and Booker attended the meeting instead.
After a meeting that left both SA and the Outdoor Club satisfied, a jar was placed in the SA office for students to anonymously give money if they had eaten a bar.
“[Outdoor Club] didn’t want to make money – we just wanted to hold everyone accountable,” Deaton said.
SA also sought accountability for itself.
“We realize that anything that is down here in the office is our responsibility and we wanted to hold ourselves and people that might have eaten the bars mistakenly accountable through the opportunity to repay the cost of the eaten bars,” Scott said.
So far, the jar remains nearly empty, and if it is not filled, Scott and Booker will cover the cost themselves.
“Sometimes, responsibility just falls with the leadership,” Booker said.
Deaton said he was impressed with SA’s response, and was especially appreciative of the “really helpful, apologetic, thoughtful” way in which Booker responded.
“Melanie was really insistent on us getting the exact retail value of the bars,” Deaton said.
“This situation did not turn into a large fiasco because the Outdoor Club has an outstanding group of leaders and officers,” Scott said.
Money from the jar in the SA office will cover the cost of the bars and help contribute to Earth Week events and the adventure race.
The Outdoor Club contacted IMBA and explained the situation, and IMBA has already sent replacements.
Retail price for a Clif Bar is $1.35, and the Clif Bar jar is located in the SA office in the Bean Sprout.