Get the bang for your buck

Segregated fees should motivate students to become active

Erickson is a junior journalism major and Managing Editor of The Spectator. He can be reached at [email protected] or @NickErickson8.

Story by Nick Erickson, Managing Editor

Think of how much $426 is. And in a few months, think of how much $439 is for you.

For most college students, that is around the same amount of money as a month’s rent with utilities tossed in and maybe a few dollars extra for textbooks, gas or groceries.

Basically, for an 18-to-22-year-old student, that’s no small allotment of dough. Most students know that. But here’s a startling statistic I would be willing to bet not a lot of students know: that is how much you spend on segregated fees each year, which fund student organizations and various activities on campus.

That’s right, this school year, you paid $426 in these segregated fees, and on Feb. 17, Student Senate passed unopposed a bill increasing these funds by 3.05 percent to $439 for the 2014-2015 school year.

And here’s the scary part. You might not be taking advantage of any of these because you simply go to class and work part time. That’s all fine and dandy, but if this is all you do, you might as well be flushing a month’s rent straight down the toilet and watch your opportunities spiral away from you.

Here are some examples of what you could be doing with that money, because quite frankly, there’s no reason for you not to get your money’s worth with segregated fees. UW-Eau Claire  provides a lot of opportunities for students to mingle, get involved and better their careers.

Your ticket to athletic events on campus is technically proof that you are a student; in other words, your Blugold card. While that looks free of charge as you walk past all of the community members at the ticket windows, that is built into segregated fees. So go put on your blue and gold, get to an athletic event and watch some great competitions.

Speaking of blue, if you are feeling homesick, stressed or even a little depressed, counseling services are included at about 4.5 percent of segregated fees.

Intramurals is projected to get 7 percent of next year’s segregated fee budget, and yes, I know each team has to pay $25, but if you have a big team, that is essentially nothing. So get active and join a team.

Thirty-four organizations will combine to get $32,000 in funding next year through segregated fees – organizations ranging from College Democrats and the Conservative Union to the Singing Statesmen to Campus Pride to Men’s Volleyball.

There are also other student groups not included in the Organization Activities Budget, including right here at The Spectator. Yes, here is my disclaimer, we are also partially funded by Student Senate through segregated fees. The student radio station, WUEC also receives seg fee funding.

So please, do yourself a favor and pick up the paper weekly and listen to 89.7 FM on Sunday nights to get caught up with campus news.

The full list of organizations, activities and services your $426 and next year $439 goes to is available on the Student Senate homepage through the university’s main site.

If all you do is go home or back to the dorms after class, I hope you read this as a challenge for you to go out and get involved on campus for two reasons.

Reason one: this university offers a lot of great things for students to do to get involved and meet people as well as legitimately help them out, so don’t be a lump on a log.

Secondly: you are paying for all of these services, so why wouldn’t you want to get all the bang for your buck and at least give something a try?