This past week, the student body learned that over $800,000 in unspent club funds has accumulated in the reserve accounts of six advisory boards. These reserves are intended to provide backup funds in the event that a student club falls into a financial crisis. But it seems that $800,000 is a little more than enough for a figurative “rainy day.”

The frantic search conducted by administrators and the student body to find useful employment for this money presents the perfect opportunity to revamp the current system by which clubs are granted funds. The most important point is this: This money belongs to the students of Georgetown University. The surplus funds were created by students and intended to be spent on students and should therefore not be redirected toward any other cause.

Presently, the advisory boards are responsible for overseeing student clubs and approving their funding requests. Students must endure a strenuous process in order to pitch an idea to these boards, jumping through hoops just to prove that their cause will be beneficial to the campus community. Rather than resting in the hands of students themselves, the decision about whether a group holds any validity in the community is left mostly to administrators.

If more student groups were granted startup funds, students would have a cornucopia of passions and pastimes to pursue. Clubs should not have to endure the cross-examination imposed by administrators and could instead be given the opportunity to draw in an audience toward causes that might be slightly off the beaten track. Fresh perspectives on the allocations and unconventional diversions would engage students by enriching the dialogue on campus. There seems to be an accepted construct of what is “educational” or “intellectual” that doesn’t account for students’ capacity to explore areas of interest that aren’t necessarily mainstream but that are worthy pursuits nonetheless.

Perhaps the solution to this problem can be found in the Georgetown University Student Association. By putting more power in the hands of our student association, we are giving our classmates more authority over clubs. By making GUSA directly accountable to its constituents, these alterations would enhance GUSA’s role on campus while securing multifaceted discourse at Georgetown.

While it is important to have reserve funds secured, it is absurd for so much money to remain untouched. This points to the need for reserve caps. The money should ultimately be used to enhance the student experience at Georgetown. After all, if it isn’t being used to fuel our passions, it may as well be nonexistent.

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