What is it like to be a member of the Student Activities Commission? In one word: frustrating. Too often, SAC is seen as an impediment — an extension of university bureaucracy — to student organizations. At its very core, however, SAC is first and foremost an ally and a resource for the over 100 student organizations it serves. The commission is made up entirely of students who are dedicated to campus programming and serving their peers and university.

Individually, SAC commissioners serve as resources for their assigned organizations daily. Commissioners work alongside the presidents and treasurers, guiding them through the budgeting process and both SAC and university policies on an event-by-event basis. While every SAC group has a Center for Student Engagement adviser, they also have their SAC commissioner as a secondary resource.

Although commissioners may not be able to answer every question, they can certainly identify how to get a question answered, whether through CSE or another campus department. Commissioners are resources, not obstacles.

At a more macro level, SAC as a whole is also an ally for student groups. The commission actively works to create new ways of judiciously allocating its scarce resources while also seeking to reduce certain common financial burdens that student organizations face.

SAC received approximately $320,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year. This semester alone, however, SAC fielded requests from student organizations that totaled over $350,000. The commission understands the nature of this frustrating situation and knows that it must work diligently to stretch its resources as far and as fairly as possible in the interest of effective student programming.

The goal of SAC as a whole is to serve as an ally for student organizations on a broad level. Recently, the commission has noticed an increase in spending on GUPD by student groups. Under the current structure, organizations pay GUPD $46.50 per officer per hour, with a 4 hour minimum workday per officer. Some high-profile events require upward of 4 officers, as determined by GUPD and the host venue. Consequently, SAC commonly fields requests of $372 to cover GUPD costs for an event, and occasionally sees requests as high as $1,116 for a single event.

This semester, SAC organizations are anticipated to spend over $15,000 on GUPD alone. The commission sees this as a call to action. In the interest of serving as an ally for student organizations, SAC is intent on working with GUPD and campus venues to craft a solution that will diminish this financial obstacle. As it stands this semester, SAC’s resources could only meet 71.8 percent of reasonable requests made by student organizations. That is why the commission dedicates itself to reducing costs incurred by its groups.

On the surface, SAC might seem to function along the same lines as those additional HoyaLink forms: more hoops to jump through. In reality, SAC is a collection of 14 Hoyas doing their absolute best to guide over 100 student organizations through intricate university policies and budget processes. Although the commission meets on Mondays, the job of a SAC commissioner consists of daily emails and text messages. Corresponding with student groups at Georgetown is a 24/7 operation, and SAC does its best to acknowledge that.

Programming on campus is an essential part of what makes our university the special place that it is. But in order for programs to even occur, university approval and (often) funding is required. The Student Activities Commission facilitates both of those processes on a student-to-student level.

It may not always be glamorous, and often might be frustrating, but at all times, SAC is simply trying to do right by the student organizations that it serves.

 

Connor Maytnier is a sophomore in the College and chair of the Student Activities Commission. Barry Goldsmith is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business and vice chair of the Student Activities Commission.

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