Student Senate approves over $10 million to fund high impact experiences

Senate gets a visit from Provost Kleine to discuss Blugold Differential Tuition


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

Director of Academic Affairs Mathew Riedel introduced the bill Student Senate approved to continue funding Blugold Differential Tuition.

As UW-Eau Claire strives to graduate every student with at least one high-impact experience, opportunities will continue to be available after Student Senate approved the funding proposal for 2016-17.

At Monday night’s meeting Provost Patricia Kleine said students often attend Eau Claire for the high-impact opportunities and they should be available to anyone who wants to participate, which is what Blugold Differential Tuition seeks to provide.

“This is probably one of the most exciting things in higher education now that we do in at UW-Eau Claire that is done nowhere else,” Kleine said.

Senate unanimously approved the Blugold Differential Tuition funding proposal, which estimates over $10.3 million of student’s tuition will continue to support opportunities such as immersion trips, research, Blugold Beginnings, the Central European Travel Seminar and Eau Queer Film Festival.

The differential tuition depends on full-time enrollment, but the $10.3 million has been frozen for the last three years with tuition, Director of Academic Affairs Mathew Riedel said.

The funding also supports improvement projects the provost initiated before Gov. Scott Walker froze tuition, Riedel said. This includes the ability to hire professors within departments in need as well as advisers and academic support for first and second-year student, according to the bill attachment.

About 40 percent of differential tuition also funds financial aid for students, Riedel said, who can’t imagine what campus would be like without the opportunities differential tuition supports.

“It’s what makes the Blugold experience a unique experience and an exceptional experience,” Riedel said.

Senator Chaz Churchill expressed full support for the funding proposal and said it most directly affects the students Senate represents.

Coordinator of Outreach and Inclusivity Ashley Sukhu said she’s benefited from differential tuition and wants to see it continue to be offered.

“I have spent a lot of time focusing on EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity)-related issues and this is something that really hits home for a lot of students of color,” Sukhu said.

Chief of Staff Abby Kielman said as a former director of Academic Affairs, the committee responsible for approving the funds directs thorough conversation to ensure student’s money is spent on programs leaving a great impact.

“The same standard of quality is being carried every year in the Funding Analysis Committee,” Kielman said.


In other Senate news

Senate passed a bill to update what student organizations must include in their constitution.

Director of Campus Affairs Colton Ashley said organizations must update their online BluSync profile every year before Oct. 31, listing the constitution officers, academic advisers and members under the new bill.

Leadership positions in an organization no longer have to be filled with students enrolled at least half-time, Ashley said, the student just has to be enrolled.

Riedel said updates were needed because constitutional guidelines can be more confusing than helpful for organizations. Changes were made to the language of the constitution requirements to increase clarity.

The updated guidelines will go into effect July 1, according to the bill attachment.