by Ryan Harvard
Student organizations are one of the greatest equalizers at UCSD. Much of students’ tuition money is spent on programs that might not directly benefit them or might be advocating for politics or policies that not every student agrees with. This has always been rectified through university-funded student organizations which can be started by any student, can be used for almost any function, and (most importantly) receive the same amount of funding as any other student org.
But with this year’s sweeping cuts to the student org operating funding, we’re seeing these ideals go down the drain.
Through the student org, students can use university funding to meet their specific needs. It’s a brilliant system for customizing your university experience as well as providing a well-rounded education, leadership opportunities, and resume boosts. These are all very valuable tools to any college student who’s planning on job searching after college.
But each year the student org system sees diminishing funding with the money systematically reallocated towards many other areas, including forced diversity programs, green initiatives, and administrative salaries. It’s a sad trend which is steering UCSD towards a one-size-fits-all education.
On top of that, many of these diversity programs have no incentive to reach their goals because they’ll still receive fat funding checks from student activity fees no matter how efficiently they spend their money.
On the other hand, student orgs and media orgs tend to diversify student life a great deal despite very small amounts of funding. Student orgs are run by unpaid students who are forced to jump through hoops and deal with a strict reimbursement system to get even a tiny fraction of what larger university-mandated programs receive with no strings attached.
For example, last year the Youth for Ron Paul student org at UCSD coordinated with Paul’s campaign to have the congressman speak on campus. Despite any opinions one may have concerning his campaign or his person, the event made headlines after drawing over six-thousand people to campus. These type of events enhance UCSD’s prestige and notoriety within the San Diego community and are indispensable if UCSD wants to be seen as a university which embraces all viewpoints and is willing to host prestigious folk.
The event was entirely pulled off by students in a student org working independent of the university itself, often dealing with opposition from the university.
Cutting funding from student orgs is a huge mistake. Student orgs are one of the last bastions of seeing tuition returning directly to student life.
If campus administration really wants to enhance diversity in every sense of the word, including ideologically and artistically, they’ll let students do it entirely on their own through well-funded, no-hassle orgs rather than forcing initiatives that may or may not be effective.