Activity fee reduced for fall 2020, paying for virtual programming

Category:  News
Monday, September 28th, 2020 at 2:49 PM

An average Edinboro student’s bill is likely looking a little different this year. With meal plans being unnecessary for those virtual learning, and only a small amount paying housing costs, that could mean a smaller tab. But one line item has students asking questions: the activity fee. 

The activity fee for undergraduate students is usually $225 per semester, which adds up to a total of $450 per year. David Goodwill, interim director of student life, said this fee “goes toward supporting a lot of the university programs that occur, but also the student government offices, and all the resources that students have.” However, with the reduced access to campus this semester, Edinboro has lowered that fee to $120.  

Nick Helfer, president of Edinboro University Student Government Association (EUSGA), detailed some more areas that are funded through the activity fee, along with how it contributes to clubs. “EUSGA is a company with business expenses — we have six EUSGA vehicles that we own and operate. We also have a director of operations, April Brown, who runs the business side of things when we can’t as students (such as signing certain contracts). We also still have clubs and organizations operating on campus, and they all get a budget.” 

Helfer stated that while the clubs did still receive that budget this year, it’s been reduced. Goodwill said clubs that submitted a budget by the deadline in the spring “received a minimum of [a] $1,000 allotment so that they could still do virtual programs, conduct training, attend conferences, etc.” 

Since school has been back up and running, many of the university’s clubs and programs have transitioned to online platforms. The University Programming Board (UPB) is also putting on a full slate of virtual programs, Homecoming is going virtual, and the Diversity Funding Board and Recreation Services are still putting on virtual programming. Goodwill said: “That’s primarily what the funding is going towards — to provide student services to students and student programs to students. And it is also going to support the EUSGA budget office.”  

The reason some of these virtual club and programming Zoom events cost money is because they can be contracted out and through third party vendors.  

Even the Zooms hosted by the university have occasional costs. Here, Goodwill mentioned a virtual bingo event that required money for prizes. “We’re trying to do our part to keep the costs down, but we still have a lot of students participate in these events,” he said.  

Specifically, Goodwill said, “we had 47 students who participated in our virtual bingo event, and we had about 54 people come in to pick up succulents for our Stories Over Silence (SOS) activity.” SOS Day is designed to “focus on holistic health, emphasizing mental-health awareness, education and self-care,” according to Edinboro.edu. 

The cost of the activity fee ($120) was decided on by the university, and they worked with the Emergency Response Team (ERT) in order to arrive at this amount. The ERT, according to Goodwill, were responsible for the university’s opening plan. Goodwill was not part of the decision board for that, but he did mention that part of the decision rested on “what [Student Life was] going to be able to do to provide students with programming.” 

Goodwill said the university is still taking into consideration what the future will bring in regard to this fee cost. “They looked to reduce the fee with the idea that if there were excess funds — let’s say we don’t spend as much as we think we’re going to spend — then they may look to even adjust the spring activity fee depending on what the reopening plan looks like ... there may be some modifications that occur in the spring that would reflect the $120 fee that was paid this semester.” 

A few students not living on campus this fall have expressed their discontent at not being to access some of the university’s facilities, such as the gym located in the Frank G. Pogue Student Center. Currently, only students living on-campus can use the gym.  

The reason behind the selective closure of such facilities lies with the ERT; when they were creating the plan for reopening campus this semester, they tried to limit the number of students living off campus who were coming onto campus. They wanted to reduce possible exposure for students and faculty who were working and living on campus. However, the closure of these facilities to students off campus requires a point of clarification. 

All the facilities in Pogue Student Center are actually funded by the Pogue Student Center fee (which is separate from the activity fee). Goodwill said, “nobody is being charged the Pogue Student Center fee this semester.” Because of this, Pogue is currently operating on as minimal of a budget as they can, and no students are paying for the services offered by Pogue. Helfer said that these services remain open to students on campus even though they're not paying the fee because: “if you’re going to have someone on campus, then you have to give them something to do. You can’t just confine them to their rooms.”  

Goodwill encourages students to join these programs and clubs that are being offered in order to maximize the experiences that they get for their money. “Students pay for these services whether or not they take advantage of them. As the director of student life, I want to see as many people involved as possible.” 

Hazel Modlin is the Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

View Our YouTube Channel
Edinboro TV
 
Find Us on Instagram