SU Senate initiative lowers minimum deposit for Bear Bucks
Student Union senators, in conjunction with Campus Card Services, successfully advocated to decrease the online Bear Bucks minimum deposit amount from $25 to $10, in addition to creating an alternative in-person deposit option with a minimum of $1, located in the Women’s Building.
This initiative is a part of an SU-sponsored effort to make the University’s resources more accessible to students from a wider range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Freshman and SU Senator Nathan Card noticed that the minimum deposit amount placed disproportionate financial pressures on students of lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
“It was a burden, not only for students with lower socioeconomic status, but on many students in general, since a lot of times, there’s no need to deposit $25 at a time into Bear Bucks and that’s money that can only be used…on [or near] campus,” Card said.
In addition to lowering the minimum deposit amount, the system has adopted a new interface through WebSTAC that redirects users to a separate website called GET.
Much of the credit for these new changes is attributed to the Campus Card Office, which was in the process of making changes prior to Card’s initiative.
“They’ve been super responsive and really helpful,” Card said. “I think I was lucky that this coincided with some internal changes they were already making, so I can’t take full credit for this by any means.”
The Bear Bucks updates are part of a larger initiative taken by SU this semester to return to its roots of student advocacy.
“When I first joined Senate, it was sort of the expectation that every senator would work on their own personal advocacy project,” junior and Speaker of the Senate Brian Adler said. “It wasn’t really a mandate or anything of that sort, but it’s something I felt made Senate really effective.”
According to Adler, in past years, there has been a shift from senators leading personal projects which coincided with a decline in senator productivity.
“I felt that individual senators lost accountability, and we were no longer churning out projects and things that the students actually cared about,” Adler said. “We just focused on a couple of main issues…It’s super important stuff, but the problem is that those task forces weren’t really going anywhere.”
Other senators’ individual projects are developing as well.
“Sophie Scott, one of our first-year senators, has a printer project where she’s trying to map out all of the printers on Danforth Campus,” Adler said. “And that came out of a student frustration that she’d heard from other first-year students who didn’t know where the printers were.”
The progress made on these new initiatives bodes well for SU going forward, according to Adler.
“What I’m really happy about is the first-year students who have worked really hard in this last election,” he said. “They’re really putting in a lot of the initiative that’s driving our current growth. There aren’t that many of us older people left on Senate. They’re now the majority. So, there’s a lot of good advocacy happening.”