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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 The Gift Fund has been replaced by the Innovation Fund that any student can apply for and cash advances are more clearly articulated in the bylaws.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.

State of the Campus

By Darrin Camilleri, President of Student Commission

Darrin Cemilleri

Fellow Students,

Here we are again on this fair Arcadian Hill for the 180th school year. Over these many years, things have changed considerably at the College, but one thing has always remained the same: the Student Commission President’s address at the beginning of each term. I am humbled and excited to have this opportunity this year.

Starting today, my administration promises to you a fundamental shift in the way Student Commission business is done. We are ushering in a new era of accessibility, transparency, and accountability.

To do that, we are piloting several programs this quarter. First, we are starting public financing of our elections. For the first-year election on Thursday, candidates are limited to $15 from Student Commission that can be used at the Copy Center. Second, we are working on a Student Commission fellowship program that will be open to anyone on campus who wants to work more closely with our committees, but who will not have the responsibility of voting. Finally, I will be hosting the first ever President’s Advisory Council to hear direct feedback from campus leaders on a regular basis. These changes will open up the Commission, and I’m very excited to see the ways that we can work together as a community.

However, these projects are not the only ones that we will be working on. In collaboration with the Provost and the President, we will continue to provide feedback on the hiring of the Mellon Fellow for Ethnic Studies. Additionally, once the process starts, we will have a hand in the search for a new executive director for the Arcus Center. Finally, we will be there every step of the way as we start the public phase of the Campaign for Kalamazoo College.

Expect and demand your Student Commission to be proactive and transformative this year. If you have any concerns, please let us know and we will work to find you a resolution. This job is never easy, but it is my promise to you that I will be a fighter for your best interests. I hope you’ll join me in that fight.

Go Hornets. Lux Esto,

Darrin Camilleri

Student Commission meets Mondays at 9pm in Hicks 111. Meetings are open to the public.