Breaking Down the Student Activities Fee

By Kamalaldin Kamalaldin, Contributor and Allison Tinsey, Editor-in-Chief

Entering its fourth year since its foundation, the Student Activities Fee (SAF) has come a long way. “[It was] born out of the idea that students could do great things, but don’t have the funding to do them,” said Brian Dietz, Assistant Dean of Students.

The 1100-1200 students who are on campus pay $100 per quarter to the SAF. Approximately one-third of the fund is directly allocated to Kalamazoo College’s Student Commission and its use falls under their jurisdiction.

The one-third allocated to the Commission totals $111,127. From there, 8 percent goes directly to StuComm and 1 percent is stored as a Crisis Budget. The remaining amount, a balance of about $100,000, is available for all student organizations to apply for and use toward events, speakers, trips, equipment, supplies, etc.

Bylaw revisions were made on Monday to how Student Commission assigns funding to those who apply for it. The Gift Fund has been replaced by the Innovation Fund that any student can apply for and cash advances are more clearly articulated in the bylaws.

“Students used [the Gift Fund] for their SIPs and academic-related travels, something which the Student Activities Fee was not meant for,” said Kelly Ohlrich, Secretary of Finance. “Unlike all other funds that get spent throughout the year, the Innovation Fund is meant to hopefully be used for a lasting physical change that everyone can appreciate.”

The remaining two-thirds of the Student Activities Fee is widely distributed by the Office of Student Involvement. Dietz remarked, “Our intention is to give students the control of this money.”

Things that are funded through the SAF and OSI include weekly programmings like Zoo Flicks and Wind-Down Wednesday, Beyond the Hive trips, group bonding money for student organizations, and improvements to the student resource room and other facilities such as the game room.

A large portion of the fund is granted to students who apply to attend leadership development conferences like Leadershape and iLead that take place during the summer. “These conferences are open to everyone and students should be smart to take advantage of them and get more out of the Student Activities Fee,” said Dietz.