The '06-'07 season sees the introduction of membership subscription fees for CUPC. This represents a major change to the way in which CUPC is organised and funded, and is something that we only decided to trial this year after much debate at the 2006 AGM. I want to take the opportunity here to reassure everyone that this is not simply a case of the club being greedy and wanting more money, or trying to exclude the more casual player, but is (I believe) essential as the club continues to grow, and our activities expand to include more than just the college leagues and annual Varsity match.
Many sports at Cambridge require participants at University level to pay some form of annual membership fee, commonly referred to as 'subs'. In the past, CUPC has not collected subs (despite their being mentioned in the old constitution), and membership was automatically granted to any college captain or Varsity player. Having not had an official membership roster, it has also been extremely hard to pin down exactly how many members we have. The only tangible benefit of membership was the ability to vote at the AGM, and it was assumed that people wouldn't want to pay solely for this privilege! In practice, it has only ever been the Varsity players present at the AGM, potentially leaving the committee open to accusations of cronyism and elitism (having been present at every AGM since 2003, I can only recall one case of a college captain actually turning up to vote). This is certainly not the case, and the committee does work extremely hard to act in the interests of all college players, not just the dozen who play Varsity each year. The introduction of subs will genuinely open membership up to absolutely any member of the University, and I hope that the relatively low cost, and tangible benefits (described below) might encourage more casual players to get involved with pool at the University level.
The other major motivation for introducing membership subs is to do with how the club is funded. Historically, our sole source of income has been college league fees, and in the past couple of years, entry fees for the CU Open and Masters tournaments. In addition to covering trophy costs and table costs for events such as freshers trials and Cuppers/Plate, this has also had to fund the annual varsity match, and entry fees for CUPC teams in the local CAPL and BUSA. However, now that we have joined with the women's club, it will not be possible to fund the activities of both University teams from this (limited) source of income. At any rate, I would like to see more of the college league fees going back into college pool. Subsidising the university teams via membership subs will free up more money to be spent on developing college pool, in the form of bigger competitions (with better trophies and reduced entry fees), and open coaching/exhibition sessions.
Ideally, I would like to see CUPC moving to a system whereby all activities of the University teams are funded by membership subs. This means covering entry fees for the local CAPL and BUSA, practice sessions for the teams, and most importantly table costs for the varsity match (hiring out four tables for a whole weekend does not come cheap!). The more people that pay membership, the more practices we'll be able to have (potentially with coaching), and the better prepared we'll be for the Varsity matches!
This will obviously be the point that makes or breaks membership subs as a practical means of funding CUPC. We have had a long think about what we can offer as benefits for membership without ruining the club financially, and this is what we've come up with:
Membership is not required for any of the following:
Membership subs for the '06-'07 season are £10 per term, or £20 for the year. Subs may be paid at any point during the term, but you will only receive the benefits from the moment your cheque is received, i.e. you will not be able to claim half-price entry for the Open or Masters tournaments if you haven't paid your subs before you pay your entry fee! A one-off payment of £20 will get you membership for the rest of the year, as an alternative to paying £10 each term (£30 total if you pay for every term). This will mainly be of interest to anyone competing in the CU Open (in Michaelmas) who is potentially interested in playing BUSA and/or Varsity, and so would be paying membership subs anyway in the Lent and Easter terms.
Anyone who is thinking about trying for the University teams in BUSA and/or Varsity should think about paying membership subs. It would be possible to wait until right before the teams are announced and then pay, but you would then miss out on the valuable practice sessions! Also, if you're likely to play in both the CU Open and Masters tournaments, membership will save you £10, so annual membership at £20 is effectively only costing £10, and all the normal benefits still apply!
Payment is by cheque made out to Cambridge University Pool Club, and sent to the Junior Treasurer (see the committee page for current contact details)
CUPC Junior Treasurer and webmaster '06-'07
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