In the past few years, MIT has been tightening up their room reservation system. It used to be that it was easy to reserve rooms not in the same department. That has been getting increasingly and increasingly difficult, with more paperwork to fill out and requirements that our sponsor be on-site for each event we do.
You will see for our 2017 events that we are looking for a new space to have meetings, and are trying some new spaces out. If you have ideas, please let us know by emailing guild at commoncod.com. The space should be low-cost – $50 or less to rent out on a Friday from 6:30 – 9 pm – it should seat up to 50 people (or 120 or so for Ignite), and have parking options as well as be close to a subway stop (this is hard to find!).
FiberCamp is an amazing event, but it requires a LOT of classroom space. Our sponsor has been generous for 7 years, and we can no longer burden them with the crazy amount of paperwork it takes to reserve a dozen or more rooms for the weekend, complete with work orders to make sure the doors stay open and the system knows there is a scheduled event there.
We looked and looked for a space for several months. FiberCamp is a fundraiser for us, and it takes in about $2,500. In the past we have spent about $500 putting the event on, because the room rental is free and everyone volunteers their time (except for hiring childcare). Trying to rent out the space we need for FiberCamp is difficult – classroom rental is expensive and having enough classrooms is hard to find. Even if we could rent a classroom for $100 per classroom per day, that’s 10 classrooms x 2 days x $100 = $2,000. That’s all the money we take in for FiberCamp, meaning we would break even on the weekend.
Still, that was our budget. We figured if we could break even this year we could work on growing FiberCamp larger in the future and make money.
Unfortunately, $100 per classroom is less than half of what the going rate is – even for a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, the rate is $250 per day and higher.
We did find a space at the Democracy Center, which only has 4 rooms, and we were working on tweaking the format so we could have 3 classrooms and a larger room that could house the lounge and maybe some more informal classes (like making t-shirt yarn, spinning – ideas that require only a little explanation and a lot of practice).
The Democracy Center does not do contracts, and sometimes reshuffles their space to accommodate more pressing events. Unfortunately, we were reshuffled for an event more in line with their mission.
Having started to tweak FiberCamp to be in fewer rooms, we scrambled for a week to find a place to rent that was maybe one or two big rooms. However, this close to the event, there was no space that we could find that had room for 9-5 on both Saturday and Sunday.
Unfortunately that means we have to cancel FiberCamp for 2017. However, it does mean that for 2018 we can reserve a space that meets our new, tweaked format. We now have options like a hotel ballroom that can be divided into 4 rooms, for example.
We love FiberCamp and we know you do – it will be sorely missed by all of us.