Student Social Life Finances
With President Liebowitz getting high marks across campus (with particular accolades from faculty and staff) for “putting it all on the table” and “being transparent” in regards to the school’s financial situation, I think it’s time to step up too in explaining the student-end of finances: the Student Activities Fee (SAF) as administered by the SGA Finance Committee.
Question: What is the Student Activities Fee (SAF)?
Answer: The SAF is $380 a year (in $190 semester installments) paid by each and every student on campus (not abroad) for the purposes of social life programming. The money is collected by the SGA and is governed through the Finance Committee (composed of students). From this weekend’s MASO sushi workshop to MCAB’s Spring Concert, you are seeing your SAF funds in action. The SAF collects upwards of $800,000 a year for social life on campus.
Question: Does the administration contribute to social life funding?
Answer: Yes. They contribute mostly to social life funding through the Center for Campus Activities and Leadership (CCAL) and The Commons. CCAL primarily chooses to provide supplementary funds for the Middlebury College Activities Board (MCAB). That said, the majority of social life and MCAB is still funded through the SAF.
Question: What is the effect of the financial crisis on the SAF and social life on campus?
Answer: Since the SAF is determined a year in advance and the funds are collected with tuition, SAF funds are not declining for this year. There is a possibility, however, of the College cutting some funding (separate from the SAF) through its contribution to MCAB and the Commons but there has been no decision yet. Student organizations will continue to be funded by the SAF at levels outlined in their budgets. The SGA Finance Committee, chaired by Caroline Woodworth ’09, will examine the Student Activities Fee (SAF) for next year (2009-2010) in the spring and may recommend a increase or reduction in SAF to the Student Government Association (SGA), which must approve the fee for the following year.
Question: Where is all my Student Activities Fee (SAF) money going?
Answer: Find out on the SGA Finance Committee Website where all allocations are posted through minutes of the meetings. Each student pays so it’s worth knowing where your money is going. If you want to know how the Finance Committee attempts to make equitable decisions, check out their guidelines.
Question: Can I still get money to throw a party or do an event or bring a speaker?
Question: What about concerts? Aren’t they a waste of money?
Answer: Concerts are funded from a variety of sources including the SAF and a special grant. MCAB charges for tickets to recoup some cost but the average cost of a concert is far greater than what ticket sales brings in. MCAB is charged with providing a variety of genre in concerts. Students overwhelmingly respond that concerts are an important part of social life on campus. It’s actually cheaper to bus everyone to a concert in Burlington than to produce a concert here ourselves but the experience of concerts on campus provides an important social life outlet.
Questions? sgafc [at] middlebury [dot] edu