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SAC needs better incentives, fewer hoops
With the start of the spring semester officially underway, various changes in student life seem to finally be taking effect. In particular, the Student Activities Commission is making changes on campus that promise to have a large impact on the wellbeing of student groups.
The inaugural Spring Student Activities Fair took place this past weekend, giving student groups the chance to reinvigorate their membership base. It is also beneficial for uninvolved students, particularly freshmen and Hoyas returning from their study abroad, inspiring them to try something new or rediscover an old passion.
Much to the joy of group leaders, SAC also reduced the “Blueprint” training by almost half to a manageable 4.5 hours from the grueling 8-hour experiment in the Fall. The Center for Student Programs has also added more Declining Balance Cards to facilitate the funding process and reduce the amount of time and hassle that accompany student reimbursements.
Unfortunately, the general bureaucracy of SAC remains an obstacle for groups looking to start up. The hoops students must jump through to receive SAC funding often push groups to resort to alternative means. The McDonough Retail and Luxury Association, which is already bringing the CEO of Tom Ford to campus despite its very recent establishment, decided to go through the MSB to secure funding for this reason. Even though no other campus group specifically represents the American Indian demographic, the Native American Student Council also encountered many obstacles from both SAC and the CSJ in its attempts to become a recognized student group.
As usual, SAC has scaled back the amount of funds requested by student groups. This semester’s allocation, 66.98 percent of requested amounts, is significantly less than in past semesters—last spring’s allocation was around 75.26 percent, while last fall’s was 80.31 precent. It is understandable that SAC seeks to make sure that the University’s money is spent wisely, but it is just as important to make sure that student groups have the resources they need to thrive.
Without adequate funding, groups may have to make major budget changes to make ends meet. In particular, “the objective across-the-board cut bulk allocation method used by SAC discriminates against larger projects, due to the fact that the system encourages events with flexible marginal costs like food versus ones with larger fixed costs like space costs, equipment, etc.” said a disgruntled member of one of Georgetown’s largest SAC groups, who wished to remain anonymous.
Although SAC has made many positive changes in the past year, there is still red tape left to be cut. Student groups are the backbone of a vibrant campus life, and for that to remain true change must take effect—change that goes beyond small appeasements and truly provides clubs the chance to flourish now and in the future.