Friday, February 8, 2008

Give Up Your Coffee, Gain A Community

Mike and Emily brought this up, so I figured I'd add my thoughts to the discussion.

After several failed attempts, multiple negotiations and numerous revisions, a proposal to increase GW's per-credit fee was approved by the student body. GW's student fee goes toward funding student organizations, many of which have been increasingly strapped for cash in recent years.

The student fee hadn't been increased since 1992, when there were a fraction of the current number of student organizations. In addition--even with the increase--our student fee is still far lower than that of many other universities.

Overall, I'm pleased with the bill. With a modest increase in the student fee, students will only have to pay a few extra dollars a semester--fully within the price range of GW students, even debt-ridden students like myself.

In addition, all of the money collected will go toward funding student organizations--none of it will go toward the GW bureaucracy, which receives enough of our money as it is. And while I would have preferred that the student fee increase take effect immediately--instead of beginning with next year's freshman class--I understand that the bill wouldn't have passed if it the fee increase were applied to current students.

The undisputed winner in this is the student body, since student organizations are a huge part of the GW community. Part of our university's appeal is our active student body, embodied in student organizations focused on language, heritage, art, music, politics, journalism, public affairs etc. Having an active student community makes GW more attractive to prospective students and faculty, which in turn improves the university's reputation (and makes those diplomas we get at the end of our time here all the more valuable).

Next year--with more funding to go around--student organizations will be able to avoid the hurdles usually associated with lobbying for SA funding. There will be fewer arguments, less scrimping, less politicking and less animosity (particularly animosity toward the SA). Smaller organizations will be able to increase their activism and membership now that they'll have adequate funding, while other organizations will be able to devote more time to putting on great events and less time to SA politicking and obsessing over funding. The GW community will be able to grow and prosper in a way that it hasn't been able to for years now, benefiting all of us.

And to think, all of this for the price of a few cups of coffee a year...

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