Students deserve a strong justification for raising any fee they pay.
The potential fee increase from $1 to $2 per credit hour was proposed in fall 2013 by the Student District Council, composed of student leaders from across the five Alamo Colleges.
SGA President, Andrew Hubbard has told me anecdotally, that he has heard requests for increased student club funding, free printing and additional activities and recreational sports.
It’s important for students to know that the way their money is spent is proposed by the Student Activity Fee Committee, which is assembled by the college president and composed of five students, four faculty, and one nonvoting chair (currently Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs).
The committee’s proposed budget is reviewed and approved by President Robert Zeigler and Chancellor Bruce Leslie annually.
While the fee supports student activities, state law prohibits the fee monies being used for “regularly scheduled academic functions” of the institution.
This means that services such as tutoring or academic advising could not be funded through the student activity fee.
On the Alamo Colleges website, there are links to the current and proposed student activity fee budgets for all five colleges.
But I want to give more specific insight about ways the office of student life could use additional funds to enhance opportunities for our students:
• Added athletics and recreational sports. Student life offers men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and boxing. We also would like to bring back intercollegiate basketball, a cheer team and other sports students show interest in.
• Faculty-student interaction opportunities via lunch series, mixers and open houses.
• A station for free printing housed in Loftin Student Center.
• Peer mentoring. Countless academic studies show that peer support outside the classroom is key to student success.
A strong peer-to-peer program has worked well at other colleges to enhance leadership skills for mentors while also providing valuable guidance to mentees/new students. We can have the same thing here at SAC.
• Additional evening and weekend events.
• A space in Loftin Student Center for student-led clubs to have designated workspaces and physical offices. The office of student life has already obtained furniture quotes for such a space, but added funds are needed to make that a reality.
• High-profile entertainment from nationally recognized musicians, speakers and performers.
I hope students will agree that tentative ideas listed above would benefit them directly and would add to their overall experience as valued members of SAC’s vibrant community.
The average student taking nine-12 hours would only pay an additional $9-$12 per semester, and they will likely see the benefits of that investment tenfold, if not more.
If a student would like to share their perspective with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Farias is the director of student activities at this college.