The $35,000 question

How would you spend $35,000? The subject line to CC co-president Peter Nurnberg’s Monday night e-mail was enough to inspire fantasies of blow-out parties and superstar Spring Fling headliners. We urge students not to see this opportunity as a spending spree on CC, however. Resist that kid in a candy store mentality and instead turn the spending impulse to more long-term possibilities. We propose laying aside a large amount of the money in a CC reserve fund and then reinvesting some of that surplus in what it was originally intended for: student clubs and organizations.

The current CC should be applauded for eliminating defunct clubs from the budget and freeing up these funds. Co-presidents Nurnberg and Jeremy Goldstein have dumped fortune in our collective lap. It’s a very clever, if not dramatic, way to begin the year as the people’s presidents. That said, why were some defunct clubs’ accounts not closed out years before? The fact that this money remained unused for years should cast doubt on the financial management of former Councils. We hope future CC leaders keep close tabs on student clubs.

But former CC oversight is current students’ gain. $35,000 is a hefty sum which can be used to greatly improve campus life. To this end, we suggest investing some of this money in student clubs and organizations. Encompassing a significant proportion of the student body, these clubs provide for many students’ most meaningful experiences at Williams.

Unfortunately, some of these clubs are without sufficient funding. Each year, club leaders wrangle amongst themselves for limited funds allocated through CC’s Fincom committee. Club sports, for example, have for years been underfunded, often unable to adequately pay coaches, transportation and equipment costs. The debate team is also often unable to pay for transportation and tournament entrance fees for all members. The creativity a large, relevant project would demand could best be utilized on a local, already successful level. A little more money toward certain clubs may go a long way.

Of course, we almost certainly won’t need all $35,000 for clubs this year. So why not put the remainder in a reserve fund run by CC? This way if certain organizations overdraft and need a CC bail-out (remember ACE and Spring Fling 2008?) we’ll have the means to do so. This reserve fund will thus represent an investment in the future well-being of clubs of all kinds ensuring their financial stability for years to come.

Fortunately, CC already runs a reserve fund and has withheld money from the recently generated surplus to maintain it. However, would it be so bad to pad our reserves a little more? $35,000 would last a lot longer in such a fund rather than on some all-campus entertainment. Let’s defer gratification so Ephs for years to come can enjoy this surplus.