Van Norman: Activities fee under consideration for fall

Seton Hall may implement a $50-per-semester student activity fee starting in Fall 2011, according to Karen Van Norman, associate vice president and dean of students, who presented the proposal to the Student Government Association at Monday night’s meeting.

According to Van Norman, the fee would go towards creating a “Game Change,” for programming at the Hall.

“I want it to work, I want it to be a huge success the first year,” Van Norman said.

Van Norman added that the fee would be assessed for full-time undergraduate students and a proportional fee would be assessed for part-time students.

According to Van Norman, the fee would raise approximately $500,000 and would be given to the Student Activities Board and SGA to use as they see fit. Ideas Van Norman presented included large-scale concerts, guest speakers and the enhancement of previous successful events, such as Winter Ball.

Van Norman said she thought about implementing student activities fee when she was at Rider University discussing with students how they managed to put on a large-scale concert and discovered the university assessed a student activities fee. After doing research, Van Norman discovered that 80 percent of surveyed Catholic schools of comparable size assessed a student activities fee, ranging from $75 to $200.

Van Norman said she decided to propose $50 per semester because she did not want to “nickel and dime students to death.”

Most SGA members present at the meeting supported the proposal.

President Melissa Boege said she supported the proposal and was looking forward to working with SAB to create better programs from the larger budget.

Senator David Castrillon said he also thought the fee was a good idea as long as all of the money collected from the fees was used strictly for student activities, and none of it was allocated to other areas of the University.

Travel and recreation co-chair of SAB Richard Harzula also thought the fee would improve student life at the University.

“The budget is really going to revolutionize student activities at Seton Hall,” he said. “The activities will cost less for a better overall student experience.”

Many other senators voiced concerns about whether the fee would be assessed as a separate part of the bill or whether it would be part of a general tuition cost.

SGA Vice President Jesse Beutell said he felt it would be better to assess a separate fee strictly for student activities on the bill, as that would create accountability for the SGA and SAB. It would also allow students to see exactly how their money was spent.

Van Norman said she would bring the proposal, as well as SGA’s and SAB’s input to the President’s Cabinet.

Assuming the proposal receives a positive review at that level, Van Norman will take it to the Board of Regents during their March 23- 24 meeting, when they will vote on the proposal.

According to a Setonian article published on Jan. 18 after his appointment as permanent president, A. Gabriel Esteban said there was a possibility of a student activities fee in the future.

According to Esteban, the student activities fee would strongly impact activities funding.

According to Van Norman, as proposed, the money collected from the fee would be an addition to the funding SGA and SAB already receive.

“If it’s a replacement for a previous budget, it doesn’t accomplish a game change like we want it to be,” Van Norman said.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at caitlin.carroll@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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