Candidates want to use increased student activity fee for events, projects

Julie Knapp

Washburn University has one of the lowest student activity fees in the state, but a committee set up by the Washburn Student Government Association found that many of the organizations are under funded, and the fee needs to be raised.

While the Board of Regents hasn’t made an official decision, Josh Shald and Molly Shea, the current president and vice president of WSGA, are proposing a raise of $12. This would bring the total activity fee to $43 per semester.

All of the president and vice president candidates are supportive of this increase – saying the extra money could bring speakers to campus, provide more funding for student organizations and create a better student life atmosphere at Washburn.

Vince Bowhay, presidential candidate, was adamantly supportive of the increase. He doesn’t think Washburn’s activity fee should be in competition with other colleges in that regard.

“Campus life isn’t really there,” said Bowhay. “With an increase in student activity fees, obviously we could bring bigger speakers and performers to campus.”

Bowhay said he thought the funds could be allocated in ways that weren’t known yet. He cited the Collegiate Readership Program as a program that was talked about three years ago, but was only passed recently. Bowhay views this as a start of programs to come and extensions of current programs to expand campus life.

Lacey Keller, who is running as a vice presidential candidate with Bowhay, wants to see an increase in the amount that student organizations get, because she doesn’t believe the current caps are sufficient.

“If you look at inflation, the money doesn’t go as far as it did [when the caps were instituted],” said Keller.

Ultimately, Keller said the money should go back to the students.

Nick Woolery and Andrea Chancey, president and vice president candidates, said they too support the increase in the activity fee.

“A lot of administrations in the past haven’t stepped out and tried to provide new programs for the students,” said Woolery, who is currently the chair of the allocations committee.

He also stated that the allocations committee is currently considering raising the amount of money each organization can be allotted. It is set at $3,000, and only $2,000 can be used off campus.

“We can have a lot of really cool events on campus that I don’t think student organizations have taken advantage of,” said Woolery.

Woolery also cited programs like the community service grant program, the Student Health Center and the recognition programs as places where the money could go.

“It helps us publicize to student organizations that they have that money, and we encourage [student organizations] to use it, especially on campus,” said Woolery.

Right now, the student activity fee is allocated between WSGA, the University Child Care, Campus Activities Board, Student Publications and the Dancing Blues. WSGA uses the activity fee for student organizations, WUSAC and Homecoming.