This term, Student Senate came across $150,000 of funding which it previously knew nothing about. This money came as a result of student activity fee money, which, at the end of every academic year, is rolled over into a restricted fund for the next year. After setting aside $50,000 to prevent students from having to pay a higher activity fee in the case that enrollment drops in the future, we as students now have $100,000 sitting in front of us. It is our job to decide what to do with it.
There were about 20 attendees at a forum held on Friday by the Special Meeting on the Use of the Restricted Fund (SMURF) group, and about 35 ideas have been set forth so far about what to do with the money. While there have been many ideas, from putting more seating on campus to create more spaces for students to hang out, to composting the food we waste in the cafeteria, there have not been a lot of plans on how to put these things into action. It’s the same old Knox dilemma: lots of ideas, but it seems like it’s going to take forever to actually create plans to make these things come true.
Our word of encouragement to anyone who has an idea about how to use this money: for every idea you come up with, come up with a plan for how you want to execute it. The more planning we do now, the fewer excuses people will have in the future for delaying our goals. It is up to all of us to figure out the costs of what we want, draw up plans and proposals and make formal submissions to SMURF. We are sure that there are hundreds of great ideas floating around this campus, but if they never get turned into something that a committee can look at on paper, it’s never going to happen.
With this much money, we might be lucky enough that the wishes of many different people can be fulfilled. Even larger ideas that might cost, say, $10,000 are possible to fund without using much of this newly discovered fund.
Who knows how long it’s going to take for the ideas we set forth to actually receive funding from SMURF. Who knows if seniors will see their ideas put into action before they graduate. But our goal, as a collective student body, should be to give ourselves as few excuses as possible for not getting things done. We have even more resources now. We have the ability to fix up some odds and ends on this campus that have needed improving for a while. Think up a plan, figure out how much it will cost to execute it and make it happen.