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ISSUE 115 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/8/2002

Fifteen for a Viking

By Nicole Grunzke
Executive Editor

Friday, March 8, 2002

As the masses checked their PO’s this week, the same sentiment could be heard like a CD skipping: “Fifteen dollars for a yearbook? Why do I have to pay this year? Doesn’t that activity fee thing cover it?”

As true as seeing Maureen in the caf, all students pay a mandatory activity fee. Over 2,900 paid this year, bringing in more than $490,000. But just how far can that money stretch?

Each year, you pay $170 to the fund. Previously called the Campus Activities and Programming (CAP) fee, the money allocated to the Student Government Association (SGA) has always been used to pay for events and services at St. Olaf. Everybody always wonders where the heck that money goes. You’d be surprised. Check out the final tally.

Branches of SGA are able to use their percentage of the total to bring in big name bands, hold campus-wide events, and host well-known speakers. You spend the most, nearly 25 percent, on the Pause. That amounts to $41.10, bringing you every amenity within those cushy walls: the cable television you veg out in front of, the board games you play, the weekend events you flash your ID for, and the cheap food you crave at 11 p.m.

The next largest bill is for the Student Activities Committee (SAC) – ringing up at $32.37. Think Homecoming was a blast? Want some more of those Mardi Gras beads? For less than a new pair of pants, you’ve got a whole year of comedians, drag balls and illusionists.

Janet Reno shared some insightful thoughts earlier this semester – hope you attended, because 17 percent of your SGA allocation is what brought her here. All the posters you see around campus announcing the variety of speakers and talks made possible by the Political Awareness Committee – think of that as a $29.58 donation towards expanding (or creating) your political savvy.

That leaves $66.86 left. Now what? For starters, the Student Organizations Resource Center (SORC) doesn’t magically get stocked with supplies. Chock that up to just over 18 bucks. SGA brings you things like the movie bus and discounted tickets for a nominal fee of $23.85. Even the Board of Regents Student Committee gets their small cut: $.97.

This still doesn’t answer the question as to why the Viking is charging for yearbooks.

The four media branches – the Messenger, KSTO, the Quarry and the Viking – receive their own portion of the SGA allocation. Over a third of their budgets come from student monies.

If you spend $170 on the SGA allocation, a total of $10.20 goes to Media. Break it down a little bit further: for a year of DJ mania, you pay only $1.63 to KSTO. For a year’s subscription to the Messenger, it’ll cost you a dime more, just $1.73.

How much of your SGA allocation goes towards the yearbook? Three percent or $5.10. Factor in some restructuring of the Media budget and added enhancements to the yearbook, and the publication needed some extra financial help – help that translated to your having to pay $15 additional dollars.

But just remember, although $15 is no doubt a hefty cost to the average college Joe or Jane – the pictures within this year’s Viking will serve as “memories frozen in time” for the rest of our lives.

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