A screenshot of a Statesman editorial from 2004. An editor encouraged Stony Brook students to vote to make the fee mandatory. STATESMAN FILE

Originally published on April 26, 2004

Voting is set to open this week, including the vote on whether or not the Student Activity Fee should be kept mandatory. A lot of students don’t know just how important this is for the University and campus. The Student Activity Fee benefits students, not, as too many people think, “the people who just join clubs.”

In reality, the Student Activity Fee funds a variety of events that student participate in all the time, and may not even know it. If you’ve ever been to the Strawberry Festival, you’ve used your student activity fee. If you went to the Dave Chapelle concert, you used your student activity fee. If you ever participated in a program in your residence hall, you’ve used your student activity fee. It’s true that some of these events charge students an admission fee, but it’s nominal compared to the real cost of the program. Did you actually think you could attend a Dave Chapelle concert for 12 bucks? Students are given significant discounts because the Student Activity Fee covers the rest of the costs.

Currently, we pay $82.50 per student per semester. This money goes to the events mentioned, and funds all sorts of organizations, including the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps., NYPIRG, Statesman, Blood Drive Committee, Residence Hall LEG, and the other 200+ clubs on campus.

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The cost is actually cheap, considering what you get. 80 dollars may seem like a lot, but so much is offered to you for that money. The opportunity isthere, and you need to take advantage of it to get your money’s worth. It’s not right to take that oppor- tunity away from the students who actually make use of it, just because you feel you don’t “join clubs.”

That $82.50 is actually less than a lot of other schools with similar student body size. Syracuse University, for example, charges $107 bucks a pop, and Cornell asks for a whopping $167 per student per semester. Both schools have requested an increase in order to improve school spirit. All Stony brook is asking for is to continue funding.

If you want to know what happens without the fee, take a look at the Graduate School. Their Student Activity Fee was voted voluntary not too long ago, and down she went. Student life for graduates was hit hard, to the point where there was no student life.

Only recently was the graduate activity fee reinstat- ed, and they’re struggling to get back on their feet. They look to the undergraduate¬†student government for a model to work with, because the loss of student activity fee crippled them.

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Do you want to go to a university with no student life? What would you do after classes? Campus clubs and events are a vital part of the college experience, and you need to vote YES for the student activity fee. Without it, we may very well have nothing to do..

This week, you can vote whether to keep the Student Activity Fee mandatory on Solar System. For those of you who already favor the fee, it’s very important to vote. Many students who are against it will make the effort to vote in order to voice their opinion, and it’s necessary for the rest of us to vote YES, too, ‘in order to ensure that the Student Activity Fee remains mandatory. It takes a minute of your time, and can make a world of difference.

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