Student Fee Committee public forums are ‘one of the only avenues for students to have a say in how their money is spent’

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Wanyu Zhu, Photographer

Lauryn Ryan, the SFC Chair pro tempore—on a temporary basis—and senior in the college of engineering at Oregon State University works on her computer in front of the Student Experience Center on Nov. 19. Ryan said she wants to balance the needs of the units with the needs of the students to decide student fees for the 2022-23 academic year.

Kimberly Clairmont, News Contributor

Correction: Joe Page’s title has been updated to indicate his Pro Tempore status as the ASOSU Speaker of the House of Representatives

The Oregon State University Student Fee Committee will hold meetings throughout November to dictate the incidental fees charged to all OSU students for the 2022-23 academic year.

The SFC is one team within the Executive Branch of the Associated Students of Oregon State University, whose mission is to oversee how OSU’s student fees are spent and budgeted over the course of an academic year. 

ASOSU’s Speaker Pro Tempore—on a temporary basis—of the House of Representatives, Chair of the Congressional Budgets Committee and OSU junior Joe Page said the SFC is currently holding deliberations. 

According to Page, they are making recommendations about what amount of student incidental fees should go to each unit.

“They are doing a lot more outreach this year and trying to connect better with the student body [by] actually providing more feedback,” Page said. “They are doing a lot of outreach, engagement, trying to promote and advertise the deliberations sessions that they are holding in the next couple of weeks.”

Page said he encourages students to attend these deliberation meetings and go directly to the places where decisions are being made, as well as to stay informed about where their money is going. 

“It is one of the only avenues for students to have a lot of say in how their money is spent,” Page said. “It is still really important that we have that feedback on the services that are going to be able to be provided.”

Mak Khan, the SFC’s chair and an OSU graduate student, said they will hold deliberation meetings until Dec. 3 and then make recommendations about incidental fees to the Advisory Board of Congress to discuss student feedback and committee ideas for the winter term.

Khan said his favorite part about working for ASOSU is having the opportunity to work as a student and having a direct connection to the development of these services.

“You have a direct connection to leadership in all of those units,” Khan said. “So you are able to have a broader say in what you want your student experience to be like at OSU, so I think that’s pretty cool.”

Khan emphasized that the SFC creates an inherently student-run process, which is something required by state law, so students should use this to their advantage and show up to deliberation meetings.

Uwe Keist is ASOSU’s public relations coordinator and a fifth-year student at OSU. Keist said the SFC has eight representatives and four at large members. The members share tasks but also have their own individual projects.

“My favorite part about working in ASOSU is being able to collaborate on a large amount of activities,” Keist said. “One of the things that interests me the most is seeing how dynamic student organizations are and how they can put up a lot of events… and the impact they have here.”

Keist added that November is the SFC’s most important month because they meet regularly at the Memorial Union with each of the units they represent. These are the Human Services Resource Center, Family Resource Center, MU, ASOSU, Rec Sports, Athletics, Student Experiences & Engagement and performing arts.

All these meetings are open to the public. The SFC is holding three more meetings during the fall term on Nov. 23, Nov. 30 and Dec. 3. The meetings can be found on the SFC’s 2021-22 calendar. Students can also join these meetings remotely on Zoom.

“These are open forums, open to the public and we want to make sure all students can come to these meetings and have their voices heard,” Keist said.

Lauryn Ryan, OSU’s SFC chair pro tempore said their biggest goal is to balance the needs of the units with the needs of the students. They also want to make sure that they are being fiscally responsible for OSU students.

“I would plug the deliberations we are having,” Ryan said. “We really want students to be there and to get their input because at the end of the day that’s what we are here for.”