Document Builds on 1999 Version

By Anne Rittman Hoya Staff Writer

Looking to pave the path toward improved student life, a committee of students presented the second Report on Student Life to administrators on March 31. Highlighting desired improvements in funding, space and bureaucracy at Georgetown University, the Report also addressed the impact of last year’s Report on Student Life.

Compiled by representatives from the Georgetown Program Board, Volunteer and Public Service Advisory Board, Student Activities Commission, Performing Arts Advisory Council and the Media Board, the Report was designed to “keep the administration up to date on student activities,” according to Ben Martin (COL’01), a member of the search committee for the next vice-president for student affairs. “[The Report] focuses on student organizations, not all aspects of student life. For instance, intolerance was mentioned [in the Report], but in the context of building a community. There is a lot of work to be done.”

The 1999 Report yielded a total increase of $144,000 for GPB, VPS, SAC, PAAC and the Media Board, according to the new documents. Raising the total budget from $241,784 to $385,784, the largest amount of funding was given to SAC, who saw a 51 percent increase.

“The major feat is that we got $144,000 from the administration,” said Sacasha Brown (MSB ’00), SAC chair and member of the search committee, adding, “On that level, we are very happy. We got increased funding to help a lot of organizations, and we have handled this funding in a way that shows the administration that we are responsible and accountable.”

SAC, responsible for allocating funds to the majority of the 200 student clubs and organizations on campus, allowed organizations to use their funding increase to purchase computers, reduce or eliminate the need for dues, sponsor higher-quality events, collaborate, create new clubs and build better relationships with the faculty, according to the 2000 Report.

GPB received a 72 percent increase in funding, which allowed them to offer free weekly films, the Black 47 Concert, the Saul Williams speech, Comedy and Theater Series and the April 15 Widespread Panic concert.

PAAC’s budget increased 62 percent, which allowed Georgetown’s performing arts programs to benefit from a variety of capital investments, such as new instruments, lighting equipment, costumes and curtains.

VPS also benefited from the Report, gaining a 67 percent increase. These funds went to improve The Community Action Coalition, GU Melody, Temple Courts, Sursum Corda, Georgetown University Young Scholars, Spring Break in Appalachia, Habitat for Humanity and Georgetown Coalition for the Homeless.

Both PAAC and VPS gained $21,240 in additional funding.

Despite these improvements during the 1999-2000 school year, the Report outlines the ways in which further funding could be used. Each of the five organizations presented many potential uses of funding, such as increasing quality and number of speakers brought to campus, new and repaired VPS vans and expansion of all existing programs.

The 2000 Report also seeks to add club sports, Hoya Blue and the Policy Debate Team as eligible for recognition by the university and therefore allow them to receive funding.

Future funds given as a result of the 2000 Report will be allocated based on need, population served by the group, potential growth and student involvement and contribution to the Georgetown education and experience, in that order. The Report denies the option of increasing tuition to cover student activities expenses, saying, “If a student activities fee were to be implemented, it would only create the illusion that students are a priority. The university must not ‘pass the buck’ of funding to our parents.”

Brown added, “Georgetown has to just sit back and say, ‘Can we just take a percentage [to cover student activities] out of the tuition students already pay?'”

Additionally, more general recommendations for funding were made in both the 1999 and 2000 Reports. While some 1999 recommendations were met by the administration, the 2000 Report reiterates several recommendations while modifying and adding others.

The Report also addressed the “space crunch” affecting the campus. Outlining several adaptations to uses of campus space resulting in loss of available areas for student use, the Report made several recommendations to the administration on how to remedy this situation. Among the recommendations were methods of adding amounts of student space in the Southwest Quadrangle Project, including a student union and transforming the vacated New South dining hall to a student space.

“A lot of the 1999 short term [space] goals were not met,” said Brown. “However, there are some things in the works and the year hasn’t ended yet.”

The Report also addressed the issue of bureaucracy and the difficulty of organizing events on campus due to manifold layers of red tape. The increase in funding to meet the recommendations of the 1999 Report resulted from the elimination of the dean of students/director of special projects, which also eliminated a step in the bureaucratic ladder. Among other things, the 2000 Report asked for further restructuring of the Office of Student Affairs.

“There is less bureaucracy this year, and more dialogue with the administration,” said Brown. “There is progress from last year . [for example] the administration is now willing to meet throughout the day, which makes it a lot easier for student groups.”

To ensure progress on the recommendations, the Office of the Provost is required to send a full progress report to the writers of the 2000 Report by Sept. 4.

According to the Report, the much-needed financial gains have intensified the necessitation for even more funds. The Report asserts that increased funding is vital to flourishing student life, saying, “If we are taught that meager resources and unnecessary bureaucracy are the norm, how can we expect to revolutionize or even serve the community in which we live, where a lack of adequate resources all too often provides the justification for stagnation rather than progress, mediocrity rather than excellence?”

Related Links

 Text of Report on Student Life

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