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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


SSFC pushes free Union membership for UW grads

Dave Black, WSUM general manager, speaks during Monday’s SSFC meeting.[/media-credit]

The student government asked the Wisconsin Union to consider giving lifetime memberships to every student who graduates from the University of Wisconsin during a meeting Monday.

The Student Services Finance Committee began holding small group meetings with campus institutions to discuss and make suggestions for their non-allocable budgets last week.

The committee continued with the meetings this week, speaking with leaders from the Wisconsin Union and Recreational Sports.


During the discussion, SSFC Chair Matt Manes proposed the Wisconsin Union consider providing free membership to the Union to all UW graduates.

Considering the amount students contribute to both of the Union buildings on campus – approximately $1,600 per student during a four-year career at UW – and any member of the community only has to pay $250 for a lifetime membership, Manes said students deserve a free lifetime membership.

Currently, UW alumni have to pay $55 for a lifetime membership at the Union.

Hank Walter, associate director of Wisconsin Union, said the idea was interesting, but students tend to use Wisconsin Union facilities more than the typical community member and receive certain benefits, like discounted tickets to certain shows, through the Union.

However, Manes said considering the exceptional contribution students make, they are almost entitled to free membership.

“SSFC is going to pursue lifetime membership for every student who graduates from this university,” Manes said.

The committee and the Union will continue to hold discussions on the proposal at a later date.

The committees also met with Rec Sports officials to consider the long-term viability of the facilities Rec Sports operates.

Dale Carruthers, director of Rec Sports, said the gyms and other Rec Sports facilities are in dire need of repair and, in the long run, the campus is going to require new facilities.

Carruthers said the capacity for almost all Rec Sports facilities on campus has been met and exceeded.

However, UW does not have campus-wide support for a large-scale project and students are not willing to support such a project with their segregated fees, Carruthers said.

“Whenever the students and the campus are ready to go, we’re ready to go,” Carruthers said.

Campus radio station WSUM will also continue to broadcast after the committee approved its budget.

The committee approved WSUM’s budget for the fiscal year of 2011-2012 at $319,523, increasing the amount initially requested by the organization by more than $6,000.

When drafting the budget, WSUM General Manager Dave Black said he assumed WSUM would have several work-study employees, who are paid less than regular employees because of the precedent set during previous semesters.

SSFC Representative Peter Lorenz said the committee’s practice has been to assume organizations will not have work-study in its fiscal needs.

Lorenz said considering any extra money left over at the end of the fiscal year will be returned to the Associated Students of Madison, the increase in wages for those employees is inconsequential.

“This isn’t that big of a hassle now,” Lorenz said. “[It might] prevent one in the future, though.”

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