Use fee wisely

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Under the supervision of Chair Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs, the Student Activity Fee Committee has the opportunity to invest students’ money in students as it should have been all along.

The activity fee fund comes from the collection of $1 per credit hour per student.

In 2006, the fund was estimated to reach $472,000 and was used for construction and student life personnel under the supervision of the previous nonvoting committee chair, Jorge Posadas, student life director, when he engaged an architecture class here to remodel Loftin Student Center with a budget of $170,000.

That fall was Posadas’ first semester as director and the first semester the college collected the student activity.

Based on a recommendation to double the student activity fee to $2 per semester hour, a proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 would have added $110,000 to the $100,000 already paying for two associate directors.

That would have meant the fee meant to serve students would be shelling out $210,000 for two associate directors and two assistant coordinators. That budget was never enacted because district colleges did not approach the board of trustees for approval to double the fee.

At the Sept. 25 committee meeting, President Robert Zeigler said the committee needed to approve proposals that will have a broad student impact. For example, installing a $70,000-$80,000 Steinbach piano in Loftin was rejected.

Another attempt to divert funds from students was a suggestion allegedly from Posadas in November 2010 to buy iPads for committee members. Though the Student Activity Fee Committee meetings were closed to the public at that time, a student member of the committee who opposed the idea told The Ranger that theater instructor Charles Falcon made the motion and five members of the committee approved it.

After sunshine leaked into the closed meetings and the vote to buy iPads was made public, the committee dropped the idea.

Falcon also reported at the Sept. 25 meeting that Posadas conducted catered committee meetings in his home.

It is hard to see how that benefits students if the catering bill was charged to the student activity fee fund.

Instead of iPads, and a Steinbach piano, the committee needs to focus on entertaining while educating students. Students deserve a bang for their ever-increasing buck.

The committee is supposed to review proposals submitted by student organizations seeking funds and determine which are worthy to dip into the $50,000 allotted for organizations.

It would be good start to give a small allocation to every club that submits the appropriate documentation to student life at the beginning of the year to encourage them to be active. The money could go for signs, a field trip or even refreshments for a get-acquainted meeting.

Campus clubs such as the Gay, Ally and Lesbian Association and the Onstage Drama Club consistently provide entertaining events that benefit students, but what about other campus clubs that could provide a wealth of knowledge such as the Teaching Academy Program Peers and the Non-Traditional Student Club?

Instead of spending $20,000 a year advertising activities for students in The Current, that money could be put to use on campus to make banners and hang them around campus to advertise upcoming events.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month and Women’s History Month, the committee could sponsor films in Loftin during daytime hours such as “The Color Purple” and “Erin Brockovich.”

Northeast Lakeview College’s office of student leadership and activities doesn’t even wait for monthlong celebrations to bring in movies. It presents Middle of the Month Movies with free popcorn and drinks. The event is first-come, first-served for a maximum group of 85 with multiple showings of popular flicks such as “The Hunger Games,” “Dark Shadows” and “The Bourne Legacy.”

Investing in a space for clubs to set up shop or store items for upcoming events or having a student life work-study answer a line for questions pertaining to clubs would be beneficial.

How about just cleaning up the trophy case on the southern exterior of Loftin and maintaining it to honor the students who worked hard to earn those accolades for this college?

The layer of dust, bugs and spider webs covering trophies and plaques shows disrespect to those students and the college.

The money students pay in the student activity fee fund should promote broad aspects of college life.

And the college community should keep a close eye on the direction of the Student Activity Fee Committee to make sure students get their money’s worth.

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