Outgoing SU exec formally establishes student activity fee
Chancellor-elect Andrew Martin and outgoing Student Union President senior Grace Egbo signed a document officially establishing that the undergraduate student activity fee is equal to one percent of students’ tuition earlier this month.
According to outgoing SU Vice President of Administration sophomore Steven Kish, the document, which Kish and Egbo worked toward with administration during their tenure, also states that the “fee will be utilized for campus programming, student group funding and other student activity-related operation.”
“The biggest reason I think this is important is because we now have a formalized way to make sure we’re protecting that money as it’s coming in to SU before we distribute out to all the different student groups and university partners, advocacy initiatives and campus programming that really needs it,” Kish said.
The document also establishes the Undergraduate Student Activities Fee Committee. The desire to create that committee brought attention to the fact that no official one percent student activity fee agreement existed.
“We came to realize that [the one percent agreement] was actually never formally written down, and it was more of an agreement that was established between Student Union and Chancellor Danforth back when he was the chancellor,” Egbo said. “It was really great that such an agreement had sustained itself throughout the years, but we knew in order for this committee to have any value, we’d have to put the documentation of the undergraduate student activity fee in writing.”
The Undergraduate Student Activities Fee Committee consists of all Student Union executive officers, Provost Holden Thorp, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White, Vice Chancellor for Finance Amy Kweskin and the Executive Director of Campus Life Leslie Heusted.
“That group is responsible for meeting annually to review the agreement, re-sign and discuss any impending proposals or changes regarding the student activity fee or its use,” Kish said.
According to Egbo, the ultimate goal of the committee is to help SU better the student experience.
“It was created because we wanted to ensure that there was a process we can utilize to be able to speak to university leaders and have a form of discussion regarding the student activities fee and what things we can do to utilize with it to ensure that no matter what we’re doing, the fee is going toward causes that reflect the mission of what Student Union is,” Egbo said.
Thorp said that he thinks the committee will aid communication between SU and the administration.
“I think it’ll give us a way, if there’s any issues that arise, that we can have a vehicle by which we can collaborate,” Thorp said. “One of the things I’ve said to student government many times, I’ve talked to the Senate or [Congress of the South 40] or whatever it is, is that because student government has so many different pieces to it, we’re never really sure which group to interact with. Anytime we can set up something where we know if we have any questions there’s a logical group to go to, that’s a good thing for us and that’s a good thing for students as well.”
Egbo said that she believes the committee will play a “crucial role” with the student activities fee by providing a deep look at how to optimize SU’s finances.
“Being able to convene this committee and being able to document the undergraduate student activities fee allows Student Union the opportunity to actually make changes to it in conversation with the administration and other university leaders just so they can all ensure the student activities fee is consistently being updated,” Egbo said. “Because this was back over twenty years ago and so, of course, since then, there have been multiple changes and having this committee and having the right documentation allows change to happen if necessary.”
Both Egbo and Kish said that they believe the official establishment of the one percent activity fee is an important step for SU.
“This whole creation and whole documentation of the one percent allows a more timeline point; so, now we can have a place to move forward with down the line in the foreseeable future,” Egbo said.
Additional reporting by Curran Neenan