I’d like to think this could be the most important thing you read all year. If it helps you and you’re reading this on the Internet, do me a favor and share this letter on Facebook or Twitter. It could help someone else, too.
My name is Joe Vanden Avond, and I am the vice chair of the Student Services Finance Committee. Part of that job includes outreach, and I think this is the best way I can spread the good word without paying $100 to send a campuswide email. I speak only on behalf of myself, and not the Associated Students of Madison as a whole.
If you’re a full-time student, you paid, or are scheduled to pay, more than $550 in segregated fees this semester. They are not a part of tuition — they’re a supplement of tuition, and they’re on the same bill. This is very important.
Five hundred and fifty dollars could literally get you a Bucky burger at Union South for every day of class, four dozen pitchers of Spotted Cow at Memorial Union or your ticket to every Badger home game for every sport for the entire year. For $550, you could rent Bucky to just hang out with you for four hours — or twelve hours if you have a Registered Student Organization.
None of those are exaggerations. Think about it.
Pool all that student money together, and we’re talking about more than $40 million, and how that money is spent has already been decided.
Now, please don’t confuse my tone with a certain attitude toward segregated fees. The amount of good that can come from what you pay in segregated fees is endless. My goals are to make sure everyone on this campus knows what they’re paying for and to make sure they know how to get their money’s worth.
Here are a handful of examples:
- Go to Memorial Union and Union South. There are free events there nearly every day, and there’s something for everybody. You could probably get $550 worth of movies alone.
- Go to the gym. Your Recreational Sports membership is already paid for. All you need to get into their facilities is your Wiscard. Get buff, play intramurals, go to Zumba — it doesn’t matter to me. The battle against those 15 pounds doesn’t end freshman year.
- Get your ASM Bus Pass. It can take you anywhere you need to go on campus and in Madison. You can stop buying $15 cartons of eggs at the 7-Eleven and take a bus ride to Woodman’s. Ay, caramba!
- Stay healthy. When your roommate gives you pink eye or you think you broke something in your foot, University Health Services can take care of you. All you’ll have to pay for is the eye drops.
There is so much more. We have an amazing Student Activity Center, there’s WSUM Student Radio, the Rape Crisis Center and more than a dozen student groups that provide services for everyone on campus.
Learn as much as you can about what you’re paying for, and get your money’s worth. www.asm.wisc.edu/ssfc-segfees.html
If you have any questions, you can contact me or find me at Jordan’s Big Ten Pub (Monday nights) or at The Church Key (Thursday nights), … after the SSFC meetings are finished, of course. If you actually read this whole thing, you deserve an answer, and I’ll get it to you.
Catch you all further on down the trail.
Joe Vanden Avond (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior and is vice chair of the Student Services Finance Committee.