By Paige Carswell and Samantha Gillis
Each semester, there are students left wondering where their $75 went.
The activity fee imposed on students is widely known for sponsoring events like movie nights and Breakfast and Bingo. But, for those who don’t want to go see the most recent feature-length films, where does their money go to?
Sheila Krug, vice president for finance, said that activity fees generate around $67,000 per year. The business office collects the fee, but what happens to the money is up to students.
“That’s why we have student foundation,” said Brandon Hessing, coordinator of Student Foundation. “They kind of come up with the ideas. There’re some ideas that will remain constant, like Stau Bau and Homecoming, but what we actually do with the money is up to the students.”
Hessing wasn’t positive how much STUFU received from activity fees. “It depends on how many students we have, and by the time we know, we’ve already spent some for the first movie night.”
STUFU budgets according to an estimation of how much money they usually get each year. While they usually spend the money on things like Casino Night, Homecoming and movie nights, sometimes they choose a different path.
“There have been times we haven’t been able to do movie night semesters before, because we spent it doing other things,” said Hessing. “We spend roughly $2,000 on movie night,” said Hessing, but it varies from the beginning to the end of the semester. “I think last time we only spent like $1600.”
And, every place the money goes will go through the StuFu.
“I don’t want to say 100 percent, but every event goes through them,” Hessing said. “That’s why we have Student Foundation. That’s why we’re always trying to make the team as diverse as possible, to throw moreideas into the pot.”
The Student Government Association gets 30 percent of the student activity fee, said Anastasia Prokopis, business marketing sophomore and treasurer for SGA. Student organizations can request money from SGA—up to $2000 per year. Prokopis said that requests generally range from $50 to $300. Part of the requirements organizations must meet before they get the money is to reduce the amount they ask for, open the event to the entire student body, try to fundraise and present the idea at least two weeks before the event.
Typically, the money SGA receives goes toward food, games, prizes and decorations. The money has also been used to bring in Brett Sokolow, sexual assault speaker, hot chocolate, Christmas events, Homecoming and movie night.
SGA is trying to focus on divisions and departments, said Prokopis, instead of the organizations it is more focused on now.
Part of that, said Melissa Williamson, included student Senators speaking with the division heads. “We can get attention focused with, for instance, performing arts. As a student body can say to them, ‘We see you need this, and we are willing to help you acquire it.’”
SGA executives also use the activity fee to go to the American Student Government Association meeting in Boston. Williamson said the conference is used to network with other SGA programs, find ways to partner with the administration and improve their parliamentary procedure.
There is usually money of an undisclosed amount left over in the SGA fund, Prokopis said.
The most important thing for students to consider, Hessing said, when wondering where activity fees go, is to join a student organization.
“Those are the only active ways where you can decide where the money goes,” Hessing said.
Williamson said that senate meetings are open to the student body.
Samantha Gillis is a senior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paige Carswell is a senior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.