By: Will VanOrder
$33.50 will buy you about 15 gallons of gas. It could get you and your date out for a nice evening at the movies, with popcorn! You could purchase enough Ramen to last all semester- maybe your whole college career- with $33.50, or you could use it to pay the majority of a parking ticket on campus. Every full-time student at NMSU makes the same semesterly purchase of exactly $33.50… their fees to ASNMSU.
Many students are unaware of the fact that $33.50 of their semester’s tuition and fees goes straight to ASNMSU, and are equally unaware of how to take full advantage of the services offered. So what does this lump sum from students go towards, and how does a student make sure they aren’t on the losing end of that transaction? By being aware of the ways that money is distributed, and taking advantage of the services provided because of it.
ASNMSU has several paid positions, all working with a budget formed from student fees. One of the most apparent of these positions is the Director of Activities. On the ASNMSU.nmsu.edu website, his title is currently described as being responsible to “…oversee and organize Homecoming, Pink Week, Burning of the Lobo, Spring Fling and an array of other events on campus.” These events are all “free” for students to participate in because of the money given to ASNMSU… by the students. While no single student could put their effort and money into making an event as large as Homecoming possible, ASNMSU is given that ability by essentially crowdfunding with the student body.
Another large way students are affected by their own fees is through ASNMSU’s Senate. The money appropriated from Senate to student organizations is taken from those fees. Organizations which receive funding (up to 41% if they properly budget) for their trips to conferences and research opportunities are certainly getting just dividends on their student fees, but many others go unaware that they could be making a great return on investment by approaching Senate for funding.
Apart from the large events hosted by the Director of Activities and money-distribution of Senate, there are also many services listed on ASNMSU’s website specifically made for students to take advantage of on a regular basis. Among these are the ever-popular “free” scantrons, which students can make use of whenever they have an exam or quiz. This saves the student roughly a quarter per use, meaning that it would take using more than 130 scantrons per semester to break even from the student fee.
The less known services provided include many types of money-saving tactics to employ. Are you an avid reader of news? Then take note of the New York Times online academic pass offered free to students! Do you need help with a legal matter (not related to NMSU) and don’t know where or how to begin that journey? If so, then go to ASNMSU’s offices and schedule an appointment with the current Student Legal Services Attorney, Karl Rysted.
Your student fees even make their way up to the New Mexico Capitol on occasion, as represented by the Student Advocacy Board (SAB). As representatives of the student body, they have gone to Legislative meetings in Santa Fe to help lobby for students on matter such as “long-term solvency of the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, capital outlay for campus projects, and faculty compensation” according to ASNMSU.nmsu.edu. This service directly correlates to an attempt to bring more money to the University, and therefore to aiding students in helping their dollar go further.
$33.50 alone could not purchase a concert. You could not afford to take a trip to El Paso every weekend of the semester for $33.50, and it would only cover the cost of one or two NMSU shirts. $33.50 would afford you roughly eight minutes with an attorney in the state of New Mexico. The student fees being paid to ASNMSU are being put to thorough use, but it is up to each student to make sure they are taking advantage of these services, otherwise that $33.50 will feel like just one more time you parked in a faculty spot.
*For a complete list of services provided through use of your student fees, visit ASNMSU.nmsu.edu.