By Joseph Cotton, Education & Enrichment Coordinator
Hello Student Activities Council (SAC) friends,
I have had a problem with your extravagant spending recently and am disappointed that my student activities fees are being misused. It seems as though every time I walk around campus, there is an inflatable play structure that no one is using, only serving to blow money into the wind.
The misallocation of funds should concern all students. We pay student activity fees and deserve to have events that people want to attend. Additionally, students care about having a diverse set of events that represent their communities.
SAC events have been both boring and expensive. Multiple times during the early part of the semester, I have walked by bounce houses that were just not being used by students. While I will admit that I am prone to getting in some bounce house action when the time is right, 3 p.m. on a Wednesday is not that time.
I also remember seeing a zipline as I walked out of philosophy class. According to Cincinnati inflatables, it cost around $4,000-5,000 to rent out a zipline for the day. While I’m sure that some people had a lot of fun during the experience, a single ride on a zipline from Bellarmine Chapel to Husman Hall is not going to be the highlight of a college student’s career.
What the problem boils down to is that SAC is given a blank check every time club funding requests are approved by the Student Government Association (SGA) toward the end of the spring semester. Because the first-years and sophomores who fill the Senate have little context on what is going on with club budgeting, it ultimately falls on Dustin Lewis, the advisor for the SGA Senate, to make the decisions about how student activities fees are allocated to clubs. While I respect Lewis’ judgment as an administrator, he tends to keep the status quo in place so it doesn’t seem like he’s making a big decision for the senators who were “elected.”
But the status quo is not working. We need to start asking ourselves how our student activities fees are allocated and what type of communities we want to empower on campus. While SAC is blowing money on free concerts, bouncy castles and ziplines, leaders of minority-focused clubs have been complaining for years about not getting as many resources as they need to be as active as they would like.
Funding for student activities creates inequality because the more fun and engaging clubs don’t get the resources that SAC monopolizes. Clubs like HOLA, Alliance and EmpowerXU would be able to use that money in much more inclusive, creative and fun ways. I believe that most students, including myself, are more interested in meeting cool people at the Crafts and Tacos night with HOLA than spending two minutes of their life going down a zipline.
I believe that SAC works best when it orients itself as a service organization, providing a boost in labor and money to help different clubs put on fun events. Every year, SAC is funded a very large sum. It is time to rethink how that is spent.
So, please reconsider how student activities fees are allocated to the different clubs, and stop spending money on frivolous things.