One Million Dollars

by James Gallo | 11/6/98 6:00am

Coed Fraternity and Sorority Council, Class Councils, the Collis Governing Board, the Committee on Student Organizations, Dartmouth College Athletic Department, the Hop, the Programming Board, the Office of Residential Life, the Student Assembly and Student Life. What do these groups have in common? They all receive funding from the UFC -- another Dartmouth acronym whose purpose many people do not know. UFC stands for the Undergraduate Finance Committee which will allocate $475,000 this year. The $475,000 comes out of everyone's pocket in the form of a student activities fee of $38.50 each term which the UFC receives. One might think that the College allocates funds to the UFC, but instead the College allocates $0. Nada. Nothing. A College with a $1,000,000,000 endowment does not allocate any of its funds to student activities? How can this be? There must be a reason.

Janelle Ruley '00, in her editorial "Money Talks" [The Dartmouth, Nov. 4] wrote: "C'mon, now, do we really need $20,000 to go to student activities?" I respectfully disagree with her. No, we do not need $20,000. We need $1 million. At first glance, it may seem like a lot of money, but in reality, it's what's needed to create more social options on this campus. Last year the UFC received $100,000 more in requests than it could allocate. The UFC was created to allocate funds to different sources of funding on campus which would then hopefully create more social options. No one would argue that late on a Friday or Saturday night, there isn't much to do besides going to a fraternity or sorority party. Hanover does not offer the social options that a large city such as Boston or New York offers, and that is one of the reasons why the UFC needs more money.

Increased funding for the UFC would allow UGAs to have more events with their residents, a $10 ticket to Blues Traveler instead of a $25 ticket; student organizations would have the opportunity to have more events, and student publications could think more about the quality of writing instead of how to find funding for the next issue. Currently, student publications such as The Stonefence Review and the Jack O'Lantern compete with each other for a limited amount of funds. Often, publications do not receive nearly enough to publish and as a result spend more time harassing Hanover businesses to take out ads than they do writing. Many student organizations also spend more time thinking about how their event is going to be funded instead of the event itself. Imagine the quality and number of social options if the organizers of these events did not have to worry about where the last $25 to fund an event would come from.

The College currently has a commitment to need-blind admissions, competitive pay for faculty members, tenure-track faculty positions and academic programs and facilities. I applaud the College's priorities. We receive a first-class education in the classroom as a result of the College's priorities, but what happens outside of the classroom is anything but first-class. It's not even coach class. The College's operating budget is a quarter of a billion dollars, and its endowment is well over a billion. If the College were to spend 4.55 percent instead of 4.5 percent and allocate the extra .05 percent to the UFC, the UFC would receive roughly $625,000 more than it currently receives. President Wright has stated that he would like to bring the quality of Dartmouth's social life in line with its academics. An excellent way to do so would be to allocate more funds to the UFC. The Student Assembly recently re-allocated $5,000 of its funds to the UFC. I tip my hat to the Assembly for its efforts, but that action was not enough. $5,000 is a drop in the bucket, I challenge President Wright and the Board of Trustees to find $525,000 for the UFC. The UFC would then have one million dollars to allocate. A simple and easy way would be to give .05 percent of the endowment to the UFC. If this plan is not amenable to President Wright and the Board, I know that we have many creative minds at Dartmouth and one of them could find the money somehow. I certainly have some ideas and will be writing about them in the future.