ASUP debates use of student fees and narrows MPF options

By The Beacon | November 5, 2014 4:17pm

Maggie Hannon |

At the ASUP Senate meeting Monday, Senate narrowed the list of options for the Major Project Fund (MPF) from ten down to five. The ASUP executive board made the final decision about which projects to fund yesterday, but they will not announce the decision until their Monday Senate meeting.

Senators also debated the best use of the MPF money, which is more than $60,000 this semester and comes from the ASUP student fee each student pays.

The five MPF options still on the list are:

  • The Pilot House renovation project
  • Financial installment for phase two of of Recreation Center project for a pool
  • Quasi-endowment for sexual assault prevention programming
  • Quasi-endowment for undergraduate research
  • Electrical outlets for lecture classroom tables in Franz and Shiley Halls.
The senators also debated whether or not they should use the money this semester or have it transferred to the Spring Semester instead, which would have put the spring MPF around $90,000.

After Vice President of Student Affairs Fr. Gerry Olinger expressed concerns about the current options for the funds at the previous ASUP Senate meeting, some senators questioned whether this money should go toward an activity instead of capital improvements.

“Their philosophy of the Poorman administration is that because ASUP is basically in charge of where the student government fees go, they want to see all student government fees get spent here and now, immediately, with immediate impacts for the students that are paying them,” ASUP Vice President Josh Cleary said.

Some senators argued that using the funds for capital improvements as opposed to activities makes it more of a lasting or sustainable purchase, that the students want to see the campus improve and that there are enough activities and events on campus already available to students.

“I honestly see programming every single weekend. I don’t know if we need to supplement that program with more funding, maybe that’s a possible idea,” ASUP Secretary Mariah Wildgen said. “Last year we did vans, which wasn’t a capital improvement, and granted it doesn’t affect all of the student body, but we’ve heard really good feedback from a lot of different clubs.”

Senator Samantha van den Berg said the administration makes shallow promises for capital improvements and that using student funds towards these improvements can make progress towards the things that the students think are needed for campus.

“[The administration] really wants to do what is best for the students… but in terms of an actual commitment, I don’t think they can say, ‘The administration is going to do it. Okay, it is going to get done,’” van den Berg said.

With the change in administration, ASUP has seen a shift in how the administration wants them to spend the MPF. Although they are willing to change the MPF and how it is used, ASUP wants the main priority to be following what students want.

“Its been an interesting switch that ASUP is trying to work out how best we can work in this new environment and with the administration,” Cleary said. “How do we hopefully one day make it so our visions align, as well as the student body really gets represented and gets what they wanted out of this process? Because at the end of the day, that’s what the process is for.” The rejected MPF options were the additional lighting for south side of Prusynski Pitch, more water bottle refilling stations, ice machines, an athletic field on River Campus and the Terrace Room patio renovation project.



Maggie Hannon is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at