By Taylor Forrest
Free! Free! Free!
This is one word that tends to reach the distractedly clogged ears of most college students. At Southwestern College the organization StuFu tries to provide around six Free Movie Nights every year at Cowley Cinema 8. The vouchers for Free Movie Night include a ticket to one movie of the student’s choice and a concession item.
It seems like a great deal. But is it really free? While students aren’t required to pay for this movie out of pocket, they do pay for it with an activity fee charged to their account. The Student Accounts Office said the activity fee applies to all full-time students who are charged $75 per semester or $150 per year.
The Registrar’s office said that there are currently 530 full-time undergraduate students. Activity fees for this semester are about $39,750.
This money is split between StuFu and SGA’s accounts. “Sixty percent of the activity fee is put into StuFu’s account and the other forty percent is put into SGA’s. This money is used to cover events like: Movie Nights, Homecoming, Stau Bau, Bingo Night, Intramurals, Moundbuilding Ceremony, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony,” said Dan Falk, dean of students.
This fee covers several events, but some students think it to be unfair that Free Movie Night is advertised as free and that the activity fee is so expensive. “I think we should know that we are paying for all these benefits, and I don’t think a lot of students understand that. I also think it’s ridiculous that we pay such a high amount,” said Marissa Stadler, marine biology junior.
“We aren’t trying to trick students. Using the word free is just an advertising mechanism, and it is correct in a sense because they don’t have to pay for it out of their pockets. Students wouldn’t show up to these events if we advertised it as, ‘sort of free movie night that you actually already paid for,’” said Montana Rickey, president of StuFu.
Ashlee Wenrick, vice president of public relations, said that each free movie night costs StuFu anywhere from $1500 to $2000 on a regular basis. The final cost of the event is determined by how many people attend. She also said that generally about 250 students attend each free movie night. That means that over half of the student body isn’t participating in this event that they already paid for.
“As a student you’re paying for these activities and these events, why not go? Movie night and other events are student planned and student based. Becoming involved opens up so much in your college career, it allows you to enjoy your experience as a college student. You can make friends, be more informed, and ultimately participate as a student and as a Builder,” said Falk.
Taylor Forrest is a freshman majoring in communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.