Student groups looking to make use of the Tinkham Veale University Center ballroom will be happy to hear about the Undergraduate Student Government’s latest announcement. With a recent proposal approved by the Student Executive Council, USG has created a contract that will allow student groups to use the ballroom without having to budget for the reservation fee in their mass funding requests.
Going into this semester, USG was unsure what fees would be associated with TVUC ballroom use. Because of this, student groups who wanted to use the ballroom were often blocked out, as they didn’t have enough money in their budgets to make reservations. Now that the fees have been announced, costing $150 for two hours of student group use, USG has worked with the SEC to create an off-the-top contract to cover TVUC fees.
The contract estimates how many student groups are expected to use the ballroom during the semester, based on the amount of groups that used the space in this past semester and that requested to use the space, but could not afford to. Estimating between 28 and 32 uses in the upcoming semester, USG worked out a contract with TVUC to pay off-the-top for these uses. In return, TVUC will allow student groups to use the ballroom without directly charging them.
“Rather than add it to the expectation that student organizations would have to budget for these fees, we decided to see if we could get the fee essentially waived,” said Chippy Kennedy, the USG vice president of finance.
The money for the contract comes from the Student Activities Fee (SAF), a fee per semester that every student pays in addition to their tuition. Currently at $171, the fee is allocated through SEC to the various different student governments on campus, namely USG, University Media Board, Greek Life, the Class Officer Collective, and the University Programming Board. Also involved in SEC is the Residence Hall Association, although they do not receive a portion of the SAF.
The off-the-top money is taken as a small portion of each group’s SAF allocation, with USG and Greek Life, the two organizations who will likely use the ballroom the most, paying the largest portion.
The contract will also pay for tarp fees in the Veale Center, the Horsburgh Gymnasium, and the Adelbert Gymnasium. Because of the Athletic Department’s requirements regarding the floors in these buildings, student groups looking to use these spaces are required to pay a fee to put a tarp down on the floor, which many groups do not budget for. The contract will provide for 1.5 tarp uses per semester, based on an analysis of the last ten years of tarp usage.
“In these contracts and talking with the administration, USG and SEC really want to stress that students are still paying for this,” said Kennedy. “It is not free. This isn’t a, ‘the fee is free’ victory, but it is a ‘the fee is much better organized’ victory.”