Can others do better?

Dispensing Student Services Fees is a tough task; respect those who undertake it.

Student Services Fees and the committee that decides them has probably been a hot topic since the day the two were conceived. During my undergraduate career at the University, I was able to serve on two Student Services Fees committees, both of which decided funding for student groups.

Now that I am an alumna of the University, I still read The Minnesota Daily online, and this year’s coverage of the Student Services Fees committee and the Student Services Fees process was quite distressful to me.

Serving as a member of the committee is not an easy task. It is a volunteer position, which requires long hours for training, presentations, deliberations and open forums. That doesn’t include the hours you spend studying each organization’s application and budget. Because it’s a volunteer position, committee members don’t receive compensation for their service to the community. During my time on the committee, I was juggling two jobs, a full load of classes in the Institute of Technology, my sorority and membership in other organizations. It was not easy, but I knew that my presence on the committee would benefit the entire student body at the University.

When you are on the outside looking in, it’s so easy to criticize the decisions that are made by the committee. Maybe your organization didn’t receive the funding it wanted or maybe not enough. Maybe the decision for your organization came down to a single vote, and it didn’t go the way you wanted. But is that a reason to discredit and insult the committee, because things didn’t go your way? I’ve read recently that some would like the committee to go through more training. I think it’s a good idea, but I would also like to offer a challenge, especially to those who have no suggestions to help but simply want to criticize:

Apply to be on the committee next year. See what it really takes to do this job, if you think it’s so easy or if you think you can do a better job. Be happy that you have this opportunity. Many other schools require student organizations to raise all their funds. Recognize the opportunity that is in front of you and be thankful for it.

Outline areas where you think the committee is doing a good job, and give them positive feedback instead of only negative comments.If you have personal problems with a member on the committee, leave that out of the room. Don’t let your personal feelings for someone dictate how you rate his or her performance.

Don’t assume that just because a person shares your ethnic background, religion, major or political ideas that they will automatically vote for your organization to receive full funding. Every organization is held to the same standard so that favoritism does not become part of the issue. If your application is excellent, it will stand on its own and won’t require favoritism.

Don’t assume that everyone voted for something when a vote doesn’t go your way. The person you are yelling at and criticizing could have been lobbying for your organization to receive more funding. Respect the members of the committee. They took on a difficult task and didn’t receive any tangible benefit from it. They didn’t ask to be humiliated, disrespected or verbally attacked.

Once again, if you think you can do a better job, apply for the Student Services Fees Committee!

Good luck to next year’s committee! 

Jareesa Tucker is a University alumna. Please send comments to [email protected]