As the student fee increase is being currently debated, one of the most talked about items that will be receiving the funding is the Campus Farm. While I understand why members of the SGA are emphasizing the importance of new additions to the overall budget as a way to justify the fee increase, I can’t help but feel that there is serious misrepresentation of how much money the Campus Farm receives from the SGA and how relevant the Campus Farm’s needs are to the current SGA budget conundrum.
Just to put things in perspective, the Campus Farm requested on average about the same amount of money or less than each of the following clubs: SEAC, FUSE, FGS, the Equestrian Club, the Sailing Club, SMUT, WSMUT, Avatar, Crew, and the Clay Shooting Club, among many others. Some clubs in that list have even received considerably more in one semester than the farm received for the entire year, including during the summer.
And yet these clubs are not having their names called upon, their relevance questioned or their existence put on the line to justify the fee increase (nor should they).
The only way that the Campus Farm differs from the above organizations in financial terms, is that like the Bike Shop and SafeRide (which receive, respectively, three times and four times the amount of money than the Campus Farm received), we use the money we receive from the SGA to pay workers over the summer, something clubs funded by Finance or Programs Board are not allowed to do. The SGA was previously funding the Campus Farm through the Community Garden Club, and yet this was not seen as cause for considerable budget discussions.
Funding the Campus Farm for one year is costing about $2.50 per student, which is less than 1% of the total student fee. While the Campus Farm does qualify as a new addition to the budget, it is not requesting that much more money than it did while it was a club. We just want to use the money differently than other clubs.
We don’t represent a burden on the SGA’s budget more than many other clubs, and would ask that people consider this before they question the farm in light of the fee increases. Fees need to go up anyways because they haven’t gone up in almost ten years; it certainly isn’t just because of the Bike Shop and the Campus Farm asking for tiny percentages of the SGA budget.