Student Activities Fee increase to bring more funding for students involved on campus

Members of the RWU community take part in an event hosted by Sexuality Advocacy for Everyone (SAFE), a club on campus.

Anya Dussault, News Editor

Regardless of whether or not they are involved in student programming, every single student at Roger Williams University currently pays $150 per semester for the Student Activities Fee.

On Dec. 11, Student Senate passed Resolution SS44-028 – A Resolution Advocating an Increase in the Student Activities Fee, which will increase the fee from $150 per semester to $165 per semester, effective fall 2018. The resolution, originally introduced on Nov. 20, is under the sole authority of Student Senate, but has also received support from members of the university’s administration.

Traditionally, a change in the Student Activities Fee is a process that does not happen very often, and it hasn’t been increased in the last four years. However, with a growing number of clubs and organizations seeking funding, an increase in the university’s undergraduate population, and recent inflation of prices, it was determined that an increase in the fee was necessary to best support and serve students.

“We really did take time to look into it,” said senior Nicole Woodward, the student body treasurer, adding that, although Student Senate understands that not all students on campus are involved in the activities that this fee goes toward, they have seen a recent increase in involvement.

Student Senators spent time researching the Student Activities Fees charged at schools with similar locations and average student body sizes comparable to that of RWU’s. Looking at data from a number of schools, including Quinnipiac University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Bryant University, Stonehill College, and Salve Regina University, it was discovered that the average Student Activities Fee is $205 per semester. Ultimately, in thinking about the large scheme of the entire campus community, it was determined that increasing the fee would benefit more people than it wouldn’t.

Woodward continued, “Especially with the new org and club sport coming in, [the increase] will provide the funds that we need for the whole community.” Currently, Sexuality Advocacy For Everyone (SAFE) is in the process of attaining org status, while Gymnastics Club is set to become a club sport.

As the resolution reads, “Increasing the Student Activities Fee would relieve constraints currently placed on the club’s and organization’s budgets.”

If anything, this increase in the fee may encourage students who are not involved in campus activities to join a club or an organization so that they will also benefit from the money that they are paying toward the programming. Groups on campus that aren’t charted by Student Senate and students going on trips during which they are not receiving academic credit have the option of requesting funding from Student Senate.

Freshman Lauren Arsenault hasn’t yet joined any clubs or organizations, and she wasn’t aware that so much money went specifically towards those funds each semester.

“I almost feel like I just wasted $150 last semester,” Arsenault said. “I definitely like to go to different events on campus, but I feel like knowing this information is almost like an incentive to become an active member in a club or org.”

“I’m involved in a couple of clubs on campus, so it’s good to know that I’m benefiting directly from this money,” said freshman Keith Lombare. “I think students who attend events certainly benefit from the fee increase, but I also think that students planning these events and going on these trips benefit even more.”

“I constantly say, ‘how are we best giving the money so that all students can be best benefited?’” Woodward said.