How To Spend $75,000?

By Nathaniel Macijeski and Jeffrey Garcia

Macalester has always experienced controversy among its student body, and, as seen in last week’s The Mac Weekly (and nearly every inbox on campus), a new uproar has arisen over MCSG’s recent discovery of a $75,000 budget surplus. This surplus is comprised of reclaimed money that was budgeted to campus organizations over the past few years but never spent. There is popular support on campus for this money to be returned to orgs for discretionary spending, though, as of yet, there is no plan for how this could be done. Last week, it seems, TMW compromised its journalistic neutrality, taking sides with outraged student leaders and fanning the flames of what we see as a widespread misunderstanding of this issue. In response, we hope to present a sober perspective on this matter and advocate sensible proposals for how this money could be used. Reactions to the student government’s excitement over the surplus point to a feeling of deception by the FAC, and of disrespect from MCSG. Of course, certain projects this semester could have done a great deal more with additional funding. But the fact of the matter is this: the entire surplus comes from excesses in org budgets.

The existence of these assets shows that, overall, organizations consistently receive more money than they need, and furthermore, that MCSG has done an excellent job of budgeting despite an inefficient accounting system, slated for repair after this year. The potential of this money, as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts: divided among the many organizations, it would contribute to single-use projects with only short-term benefits; but together, it presents a remarkable opportunity for major investments in quality of campus life, investments that for once would be chosen by us, the students.

There is no shortage of appropriate possible uses for this money. Just a fraction of it would go a long way toward improving any number of student spaces on campus. For example, introducing a better ventilation system, better seating and better lighting in 10K, among other changes, would transform the infamously cramped room into a first-order entertainment space. Refurbishing and restocking the CC student lounge with more entertainment options and a renovated back area would create a warmer space that would likely be taken advantage of by more students. Money left over from these projects could go toward improvements for lounges in residence halls. Some of the money could even go toward the creation of a new communal student space elsewhere on campus. The impact of these and other possible investments would be far-reaching, benefiting future generations of Scots.

In light of the possibilities this surplus offers, the choice is clear. The movement by irate campus leaders to reclaim this money is an affront to their fellow students, and would, if successful, take away a remarkable opportunity to invest in the lives of current and future Scots. We stand in full support of MCSG doing their job: working for students now and tomorrow. We hope that our fellow students will vote against wasteful spending and instead vote to invest in Macalester’s future. By putting these extra dollars toward improvements the whole community can enjoy, we can preserve Macalester’s stellar quality of life for years to come.