Why the increase to the student activities fee is vital for the campus community

This past week, three Allegheny Student Government cabinet members (President Larry Hailsham, Parliamentarian Mary Grace Warren and Treasurer Miguel Lirian0) presented a proposal to ASG to potentially increase the current student activities fee from $150 to $300. This would increase ASG’s current budget of $293,475 to $630,000. I wrote a piece summarizing the proposal and got feedback from ASG and students. One thing I found was that many students are formulating opinions without truly understanding the facts of the proposal.

In this blog post I want to not only dispel any rumors about what the student activities fee might or might not do, but also express my opinion that I think this is a great idea and is long over due. First of all, this proposal is simply that: a proposal. ASG has asked the student body to read it over and propose any and all suggestions or changes to it. One of the biggest complaints or criticisms has been the idea of a campus wide ball, an event the authors included to enhance the campus community. While it is an understandable criticism because the allotted budget for the event is $15,000, I fear students aren’t aware that that can be changed or taken out. Everything in the current budget is not set in stone, they are merely suggestions for what could be done.

This increased budget can do so much for our college. It can bring in notable national speakers, it will subsidize the shuttle services offered on breaks, it will give clubs and organizations a larger budget to fulfill their needs and it will give students more capital to do what they want at this school.

Another point that I find many students aren’t aware of is the fact that out of all Greater Lakes College Association schools as well as other comparable schools to Allegheny, Allegheny has the smallest student activities fee by $150. And even if it is increased to $300, we will still still have the smallest amount out of all the schools. To me it is incredibly disconcerting that students feel that this increase is too much, yet often complain that student government doesn’t do much on this campus. A lot of that is because ASG hasn’t had the resources to help students.

While I will be the first to admit that I would not be paying this new student activities fee, I wish I was. I wish we had a student government now that could actually adhere to all of the students’ needs, but this is the best way to accomplish that goal.

Because the increase will be substantial, ASG has given themselves time with the two year phasing-in process to create stronger guidelines and processes so that the money is used appropriately and responsibly (not to say it isn’t being used responsibly now).

I highly recommend all students read the proposal and express any and all concerns to their ASG representative. The more students know about the proposal and how it can benefit the entire campus, the better.

The Allegheny Student Government website can be found here: http://www.alleghenystudentgov.org