The Student Association will continue to accept proposals for the Student Initiatives Program. The program is tied to an initiatives fund populated by $18,000 Honor Council was forced to return following a Blanket Tax Standing Committee investigation into their finances. In the future, the fund will receive money from an increase in the blanket tax from $79 to $85 (see p.1).
Currently, according to SA Internal Vice President Peter Yun, the SA is primarily pursuing one viable proposal to the program — an “Inreach Day” during which students will perform tasks normally completed by the Housing and Dining staff. However, currently, the Student Initiatives Program has been underpublicized and underutilized.The Thresher believes the program has great potential if the SA expends more directed effort reaching out to the student body.
The success of SA40K should serve as a model for the administration of the Student Initiatives Program. The SA40K gave funding to a new Queer Resource Center, Rice Emergency Medical Services, Rice Bikes and environmental initiatives, such as subsidized reusable containers and water bottle fillers. Though the pot may be smaller, an equal, if not more, effort should go towards soliciting proposals. Nor should the amount of available funds discourage students from applying for funding.
Still, publicity for the Student Initiatives Program has been lacking. While publicizing the SA40K, the Senate Executive Committee visited college government meetings, posted extensively on Facebook and constantly made students aware of the money’s potential uses. If anonymous social media is any indication of student awareness, the buzz surrounding the SA40k on Yik Yak has been markedly absent for the current Student Initiative. For the Blanket Tax Committee to effectively distribute the $18,000, students must be made more aware of its existence and purpose.
The initiatives fund has the potential to be immensely beneficial for the student body moving forward. The fund allows clubs and students to apply for funding for initiatives that the yearly allocation of the blanket tax does not make provisions for. However, if the fund is not better publicized, the money will not serve its intended purpose in a timely manner; ideally, it should be spent on ideas stemming from those from whom the blanket tax funds originated.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the piece’s author.