Students Submit Funding Proposal

Programming Targeted

By Elizabeth Khalil Hoya Staff Writer

Eight students submitted a proposal to the Main Campus Planning Committee Friday requesting a $100,000 funding increase for student programming, an option for donors to earmark gifts directly to student organization budgets, and other changes aimed at improving the university’s approach to student activities on campus.

Titled “Report on Student Life,” the 32-page memorandum outlines the shortcomings of Georgetown’s treatment of student activities, specifically in the areas of funding, space and bureaucracy.

It also calls for the construction of a student union building on campus, with, among other features, a large student commons, GUTV and WGTB studios, and five times more space for club offices than what currently is allocated in Leavey Center.

The report was signed by Hae Jung Moon (SFS ’99) and Ryan Murphy (COL ’00), student representatives to the MCPC, outgoing GUSA president John Glennon (COL ’99), Georgetown Program Board Chair Mike Boyle (MSB ’00), Community Action Coalition chair Jaremey McMullin (COL ’99), nominated Student Activities Commission Chair Sacasha Brown (MSB ’00), Media Board vice-chair Liz Meyer (COL ’99), and Performing Arts Advisory Council member Brian Egolf (SFS ’99).

University provost Dorothy Brown, chair of the CPC, said in a statement, “It was a first-rate student presentation, and we’ll be talking about it at our next [MCPC] meeting [in May]. We suggested that they take their PowerPoint presentation to the executive faculty and others . we’ll be looking at resources with Dean [of Students James A.] Donahue.”

Bolstered by positive feedback from Brown and the other MCPC members during what Boyle called a “very promising” meeting, the group is exploring which committees would be most useful to approach next. The Board of Regents or Executive Faculty are two possibilities, according to Murphy.

The students began meeting this semester over the common concern of funding for student activities. As time progressed, they expanded their research to address the broader issue of how support for student programming affects students’ satisfaction with their school and their sense of campus community.

As representatives of Georgetown’s 150 student organizations, the students wrote, they “hope to detail how the lack of funding, lack of space and the administrative bureaucracies at Georgetown have a negative impact on the Georgetown community.” Because of the school’s inadequate resources for campus programming, the report said, many students seek off-campus entertainment and feel less of a tie to Georgetown than they otherwise might.

The proposal reports that last year’s Office of Student Affairs budget “was $8.5 million while the [Office of Student Programs] budget was only $805,000. Out of this, student groups received $200,000.”

The report includes a chart comparing what Georgetown spends on student activities in relation to the budgets of comparable schools. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, spends $103.92 on each of its 10,200 students, with an overall activities budget of $1,060,000. Duke University, with an enrollment of 5,400, spends $142.96 per student, with a budget of $772,000 for activities.

According to the report, Georgetown spends only $35.71 on each of its 5,600 students, with an overall activities budget of $200,000.

Both Duke and Penn charge each student an activities fee, however – $112 and $1,950 respectively. Georgetown does not explicitly charge such a fee.

The report points out that a $50,000 increase in student programs funding last February resulted in several positive “far reaching effects” for student organizations. The students noted in particular the Senior Class Committee’s class-wide events, and GPB’s ability to organize Welcome Week, a series of events in August that included a free hypnotism show and a cruise on the Potomac River.

Where to hold events can also be a problem, the students reported, because of a “major space crisis on campus.”

The students say the university needs a new student union because the Leavey Center has a number of faults that prevent it from being ideal, including a “bureaucratic key system” that leaves some members of large organizations without keys to their group’s office.

The students also want to ensure that the university retains the current design for the Southwest Quadrangle project, which would devote the first floor of the building to performing arts practice space and 24-hour meeting rooms.

The students also suggested the appointment of two undergraduates by GUSA to the Main Campus Advisory Space Committee, on which no students currently sit.

Student involvement is a central theme in the group’s proposal, which also suggests the university involve students in fundraising campaigns and include a student representative on the Board of Regents’ recently-formed Subcommittee for Student Life.

Student involvement is crucial in securing improved student services, the students said.

“Our administrators are not, unfortunately, very proactive when it comes to fighting for more funding, fighting for more space,” said McMullin. “They tend to leave that to students.”

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