Ensure fees are spent responsibly
The Senate Status Sheet is distributed to all Senators each Monday. Though it sounds
boring, the sheet tallies the current balances in every ASLC account, including Cabinet, Linfield Activities Board, clubs, intramural sports and student-run publications such as the Review.
The numbers were fascinating, to say the least. The budget comes from the approximately 1,750 students who pay the $200 per year student body fee. This comes out to about $350,000 our leaders have to plan events for us.
This budget allows LAB to host adventure activities like bungee jumping for a minimal cost to students. It also funds professional CatCabs, comedians and newly released movies, and the grand finale of the year: Wildstock, which comes with an array of games and free prizes. I’ve even heard rumors of the return of the bull riding machine and a new surf simulator.
All of these are fantastic, but with only four weeks of classes left, the majority of the money should be spent or already chartered for a specific cause, such as Wildstock. Yet, for many of the budgets, this is not the case.
For example, the Student Center budget has nearly $11,000 left; cultural events still have nearly $8,000 to spend; and $3,426.45 remains for musical entertainment.
Of the 46 clubs listed on the status sheet, half of them have not touched the $100 allotted to them this year.
Even more astonishing, the Activities Council still holds $13,8881.80 in reserve. Yet last week when I went, as the president of a club on campus, to request money for a fundraising event, I was turned down.
Granted, the council had valid reasons for rejecting the request—the event will be held off-campus and is community-oriented rather than focusing exclusively on Linfield students. But the event is also a charitable cause that will connect Linfield students with the greater community. Not to mention the club members have been actively involved in planning the event, which will feature student band Jack Ruby.
If the budget was tight, I could see how my club’s event would be the first to go in favor of other
student-centered events. However, the budget isn’t suffering right now, so this doesn’t make sense. The money Activities Council has comes from the students, and it should be used for students.
Seeing as the Activities Council cannot possibly spend the remainder of the money allotted to them for this year, what happens to the surplus?
This year the Hawaiian club spent a large amount of money to put on a great show. The cost of the tickets is a vital part of raising the money to bring in the band and some of the dancers, preparing the feast and paying for other things, yet ASLC did not offset the cost of student tickets.
General admission, $20, applied to everyone regardless of whether or not they attended Linfield. Students on the meal plan could have $5 taken from the meal cost; however, they still paid $20 total. The luau is an amazing show that is well worth the money spent to bring this special tradition each year. However, as a student event, there should have been a discount for students.
When $120,000 is still left in ASLC coffers one month away from the end of the year, something is wrong. Though some of the money is already allotted to events, stipends and activities, it would be nearly impossible to empty out the account in one month.
The fee students pay—$200 per year—is a large one. It is only worth it if all of the money is spent responsibly on activities that benefit students. Whether this means increasing club budgets, allotting more money to clubs that request funds through Activities Council, planning higher-cost activities throughout the year or cutting the fee to start with, something needs to be done.
In general, our student body fees are used well, but we need to make sure as the end of the year approaches, the money is used appropriately, and any surplus is allotted to the right places. Ask your Senator about the topic.