Students’ Association Congress approved a proposal Wednesday that will add a $25 student activity fee to undergraduate students’ tuition.
The action passed with a 29-1 vote in favor of the implementation of the new itemized budget, said Caleb Orr, sophomore class president.
“It was an idea that the treasurer, Andrew Tate, came up with and then worked on with Chris Riley and the Student Life department to finalize a proposal with an itemized budget for where the money would go,” said Orr, sophomore political science major from McKinney.
Some of the $105,000 per semester SA will receive from the new fee will go toward the creation of a new position in the Office of Student Life that will work on bringing more artists to ACU.
“Sixty thousand of those dollars would go toward getting concerts to come to ACU,” Orr said. “The rest of it is divided up into SA, but would go toward student groups and congressional projects.”
Students’ generally positive responses to the announcement of the Ben Rector concert in April encouraged SA Congress members to vote in favor of the fee which will allow for more concerts in the future.
“We expect at least one concert a semester,” Orr said.
It is no secret that ACU has been trying to get Rector to come for a long time. Rodney Johnson, SA president, tried to get Rector to perform last year, but funding issues made it impossible, he has said. Orr agreed.
“One of the biggest issues that we ran into was that our SA receives much less funding for student activities than other universities,” Orr said. “In fact, some universities that we compete with, like Harding and Pepperdine, had as much as double the amount of student activity funds that we had. When we’re competing with those colleges for students, it’s difficult sometimes when people complain about not having things in Abilene.”
Student responses to the new fee have been varied, with some students willing to fork over a little extra to attend more local concerts.
“I’m down for concerts on campus, but they have to be legit people that I listen to,” said Sterling Phernetton, sophomore psychology major from Big Spring. “So if that’s the case, then a $25 fee doesn’t sound too bad.”
Other students take a different view on the issue, such as Sarah Bateman, junior English for education major from Sugar Land.
“I feel it wouldn’t be worth it because all people will not take interest in every artist or band that ACU would bring to perform,” she said. “There are bound to be people who are not interested in or do not like the artist. It would not be fair for those people to have to pay for concerts they are not attending.”
Students can expect the $25 student activity fee as part of their tuition beginning in the fall.