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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Eagle

Op/ed: Students should vote for student activities fee reform

College is weird. AU has over 6,000 young adults in their prime years all condensed on 84 acres in the pursuit of higher learning. Yet for such a small, shared place we call home, college can be isolating. You sleep in a room with one or three other people. You share a shower with six or 26 students, and every morning you show up to class with about 20 of your contemporaries.

In 2011, the American College Health Association found that about 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year. So while you might feel pretty sad sometimes, the good news is that there’s a kid in the room next to you feeling just as alone.

If it weren’t for WVAU, I would have transferred out of here faster than you can say “AU revoir.” I’ve heard students call Crew the only thing keeping them sane, refer to mock trial as their family, cite AmLit as their support system and share a house with their co-workers. College can be isolating, but it’s the friends we find through our common interests that make it easier to manage.

Compare the amount of people you can name from your 8:55 a.m. to everyone you know in your favorite activity. AU’s clubs and student media groups are hotbeda of friendships, involvement and community. You can help these clubs and groups continue to thrive and improve with a few clicks on your laptop.

During the Student Government elections on April 1 and 2, you can vote on your AU portal to raise and redistribute the Student Activity fee. The current distribution of the Student Activity fee allocates 72 percent of the funds to Student Government while AU’s clubs and student media groups each struggle with 14 percent of the funding.

With your vote, the clubs and groups that bring support and friendship to so many AU students can have their budgets doubled to 25 percent of the total funds. This will, admittedly, come with an increase to the Student Activity fee – about the cost of a meal swipe. For the price of two slices of Tavern pizza and a soda, you can help your own club or group afford a luxurious pizza party, which is another opportunity for you to talk to that cute someone or have a laugh with your friends. College is weird, but with your vote, we can be weird together.

AU is the most politically active school in the nation, and the most powerful political statement we can make is to vote. So take a few seconds to make your statement. Raise the activity fee, help AU clubs and student media grow, and set the stage for friendships to flourish.

Barbara Martinez is a freshman in the School of Communication.

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