J.J. Gottschalk: Choice needed in SA funds

After the recent vote to increase the student fee, one area of concern is how the new money will be used. Many students were already concerned with the process of student organization funding, and adding more money has the potential to exacerbate the problem. One solution to this new influx of funding that has to now been kept silent is the idea of personal choice.

Imagine an option that would take place during the first weeks of a semester. A student would go online and decide to earmark a portion of their student fee to the organization(s) they genuinely care about, instead of grudgingly handing over their fees to be used as the Student Association chooses. Allowing a student to decide the allocation of a portion of their student fee would energize students to become more involved in the organizations they support. They could choose to earmark the whole amount to one organization or divide it among multiple organizations. It is their choice. Student organizations, in turn, would have to truly work to bring meaningful programming to campus or else risk not having support from individual students. If the student didn’t participate in this process, their money would be turned over to the SA finance committee and allocated the old way.

Some critics of this say that this would further the disparity between the large and small student groups on campus. But wouldn’t allowing students a say in how their money is used bring about a fairer and more representative process? Smaller organizations could benefit as well. With the fee increase, opening up a portion to personal choice would not drastically hinder smaller organizations to secure current funding levels. In addition, smaller organizations could rally their supporters to make sure they earmark the maximum amount. Out with the old system of allocations and in with a system of individual choice.

The SA, in their “Mid Year Review Status” from Jan. 29, actually tells student organizations to use all of their funding because if they don’t, it may not be there next year. That is just begging the student organizations to use their money in an irresponsible manner, simply to show the need for more funding the following year. A system of individual choice would require the organizations use their money wisely, in order to secure support from individual students.

I think providing students with the ability of choice is far better than entrusting the SA with all of our money, especially now that the referendum has passed. Keep in mind, this is simply an option and if you choose not to participate, the SA will continue to appropriate as they always have. I think the option of earmarking a portion of our student fee would get more people involved in student organizations. In addition, it would require student organizations to bring more programming to our campus or risk the loss of support from those whose opinion really matters: the students.

The writer is a junior majoring in international business.

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