The Students’ Association Senate is currently discussing an increase to next year’s student activity fee — a mandatory amount charged to each student’s term bill. This is a decision that should be made with careful consideration on the part of Senate and the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee.

The accountability for responsible spending does not lie only with Senate or SAAC, however.

Student groups must be responsible for appropriate budgeting within their own organizations. They are being trusted with funds that come directly from the students and should treat this money as if it is their own — because it is.

Many groups pad their budgets to avoid being hurt by cuts imposed by SAAC. Others misappropriate funds or fail to cut unnecessary expenditures that have become habit. Groups should take a serious look at their yearly budgets to make sure that they are not abusing the privilege of being allotted student funds.

Even if every group made use of these suggestions, it is likely that a fee increase is inevitable.

So, instead of complaining about the fee increase, UR students should make maximum use of their increased fee by joining a student group. By taking an active part in planning the programs on which their money will be spent, students can ensure that their interests are being addressed.UR has a wealth of student groups and organizations that fit the broad range of students represented here.

With well over 100 different groups, one most likely exists where you would enjoy spending time. There are organizations for music lovers, sports nuts, artists and actors. There are academic councils for every discipline. There are groups for environmentalism, social activism and community service.

Since we all have to pay the fee, we should all take an active interest in where our money goes. With responsible budgeting and student involvement, UR groups can provide ample opportunity for everyone to make use of the fee we have to pay.

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