Activity fee increase would fund new "Lecture Board

By Clark Jacobsen

Amidst the stress of finals, students will soon be able to vote on a 10 percent increase to the student activity fee, the majority of which would go toward the creation of a new Lectures Coordination Board. As it was proposed by MCSG, $15 of the student activity fee would go to creating and maintaining Lectures Coordination Board (LCB) that would alter the way that lectures are held at Macalester, adding money for new lectures, allowing more room for student input in getting lectures, and avoiding conflicts and redundancies among lectures on campus.

“The Lectures Coordination Board [will serve] two primary functions,” said MCSG President Owen Truesdell ’11. “One is it helps coordinate the huge amount of lectures we have.the other part of it is really giving students a larger voice in who we bring to campus.”

The LCB has a prospective $50,000 budget, half of which would be re-allocated from the preexisting MCSG operating fund and Program Board allocation. The additional $25,000, which would come from a $15 increase in the student activity fee, will allow the Board to bring in more speakers with a higher price attached to them.

“As an example,” explained Truesdell, “to get Jon Stewart, we would have to do it ahead of time, we would have to plan six months out, and we’d have to be able to offer him 25K, maybe.I think having a pot of $50,000 gives us a really good starting point to go after what students want; to give students a wider range of options,” he said.

For now, the LCB is as a work-in-progress. An email account, [email protected], has already been created which will subscribe to every mailing list that would provide information about events and lectures in particular. Truesdell then plans on taking the information received by the account and aggregating it on a Google Calendars document, accessible to all Macalester students, faculty and staff.

The LCB may also be able to help raise students’ awareness of smaller, department-sponsored lectures.

“I think because sometimes we do these smaller $5000 lectures,” stated Truesdell, “they’re not well advertised and therefore not well attended, and then that is a waste money.”

The LCB would not have any role or influence on the activities of academic departments. It would instead be involved with speaking events put together by student organizations, and would have money to bring in more lectures.

“I support the proposal, and look forward to a greater student voice and more coordination of speakers coming to campus,” said Dean of Students Jim Hoppe.

Truesdell anticipates that the formulation of the LCB will allow students to take the reins of who exactly comes to speak at Macalester, as the future program will conduct student surveys each semester to receive input on what types of speaking events to plan. The LCB board would have 12 or 13 members, and would hopefully designed to represent various interests of the student body.

“The goal is to give people input into having common experiences,” said Truesdell. “Big events.those are things that bring different segments of the campus together and really provide a bigger campus community.”

Carleton College’s weekly lecture series, where either a student, faculty member, or outside speaker presents each week, and Lawrence University’s convocation series, where three major lectures are held each semester, are two programs from different institutions that have served as inspirations for the LCB.

The basics of the LCB-the email account and the assemblage of the board members-would be finished by next semester. The student referendum still has to pass before anything can be created, and then the Board of Trustees would vote on whether to finalize the increase in the student activity fee.

Truesdell emphasized that the LCB will not overtake any student groups on campus when choosing who to bring and when to speak, but instead organize the different events so that they work harmoniously together.

The referendum for the increase in budget that will launch the LCB will take place on December 10th; all students will receive an email and have the opportunity to vote online.

“I believe you will get more than a $15 a year benefit from paying $15 more a year,” said Truesdell. “I think because sometimes we do these smaller $5,000 lectures,” stated Truesdell, “they’re not well advertised and therefore not well attended, and then that is a waste money.”

The LCB would not have any role or influence on the activities of academic departments. It would instead be involved with speaking events put together by student organizations, and would have money to bring in more lectures.

“I support the proposal, and look forward to a greater student voice and more coordination of speakers coming to campus,” said Dean of Students Jim Hoppe.

Truesdell anticipates that the formulation of the LCB will allow students to take the reins of who exactly comes to speak at Macalester, as the future program will conduct student surveys each semester to receive input on what types of speaking events to plan. The LCB board would have 12 or 13 members, and would hopefully be designed to represent various interests of the student body.

“The goal is to give people input into having common experiences,” Truesdell said. “Big events.those are things that bring different segments of the campus together and really provide a bigger campus community.”

Carleton College’s weekly lecture series, where either a student, faculty member, or outside speaker presents each week, and Lawrence University’s convocation series, where three major lectures are held each semester, are two programs from different institutions that have served as inspirations for the LCB.

The basics of the LCB-the email account and the assemblage of the board members-would be finished by next semester. The student referendum still has to pass before anything can be created, and then the Board of Trustees would vote on whether to finalize the increase in the student activity fee.

Truesdell emphasized that the LCB will not overtake any student groups on campus when choosing who to bring and when to speak, but instead organize the different events so that they work harmoniously together.

The referendum for the increase in budget that will launch the LCB will take place Dec. 10; all students will receive an email and have the opportunity to vote online.

“I believe you will get more than a $15 a year benefit from paying $15 more a year,” Truesdell said.