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Careful how you help this holiday season

MCT Campus

When a party receives money from someone then it’s understandable the person giving that money, whether voluntary or not, expects that money to be used in certain ways. The relationship between The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) and the student body is no different.

Meaning when the student government uses the money they receive from tuition, they need to be very careful about how they spend it.

ASBSU is funded directly from student fees, which are supposed to be used to fund student organizations and facilitate activities for students—such as homecoming—as well as fund the student government itself, since you can’t write up grants without paper to print it on.

This month the team in charge made some calls which may seem like tough love.

The Holiday Help program is a charity which annually asks university departments and individuals to adopt a family who may need financial help over the holiday season.

It’s a worthwhile cause, but ASBSU was right in their decision not to use funding received from student fees to adopt a family.

Instead it was decided that personal funds would be raised to help a family.

“If we were to sponsor a family and we go out and buy them jackets and jeans, how can we do that for one family and not for all our students? Are we really being fair?” said Bryan Vlok, ASBSU assembly speaker.

It was Vlok who raised concerns about the use of ASBSU funding for the charity.

As a student it is easy to imagine how upsetting it could have been knowing someone was getting fed off the fees forked up to attend school.

Yes, it’s true some families genuinely need financial help for any number of reasons, but there are an awful lot of students on campus who are not eating properly, amongst other problems because they could use some extra money.

Having already forked-up thousands in loans it would be upsetting to see this money go towards someone else’s well being when it easily could have been used to buy a box of cereal for the student who paid
the fees.

Not all students are opposed to the idea of student fees being sent on causes like Helping Hands.

“If they used student fee money and I heard about that I wouldn’t start a rebellion,” said Brandy Blush, a freshman studying anthropology.

Despite the stereotypes which suggest students blow all their money on videogames, beer and Nutella it would be stupid to think more than a few students do not struggle financially for legitimate reasons as simple as having rent and bills to pay with tiny paychecks.

In our Nov. 12 issue, The Arbiter’s Wayne Hoseck wrote about St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center establishing a pantry to help students out with food items as simple as something you can throw in a microwave.

This isn’t something that spontaneously popped up because some nice folks felt like being charitable, there was a problem which was first identified at University of California, Davis and it was decided Boise State needed a student food pantry as well.

If we have enough hungry students to justify a pantry here at Boise State then it blurs the line between who really needs help and who does not.

Yet Helping Hands itself is still a worthwhile pursuit and we should be glad
ASBSU still opted to raise funds for the charity.

“As soon as we get our family we’re going to go out shopping,” Vlok said.

So the student body gets the respect it ought to have from it’s government and families still get help this holiday season.

“I do feel like there isn’t really a problem with using student funds to help families in need because, and this is kind of personal, when I was a child I was part of that program, and so I do feel it’s an important thing to do. So using student funds I feel could have been a totally justifiable thing,” Blush said.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with wanting to help out others over the holidays. But the funding we help them with should maybe come from individuals and not from a tight-belt student body 20,000 strong.

About Zachary Chastaine (0 Articles)
Zachary studies English technical writing at Boise State and previously wrote for the Portland State Vanguard. An enthusiast of downhill mountain biking, craft beers and automotive racing Zach hopes to continue his writing studies overseas at Oxford Brookes.