By Connor Soudani, Editor-in-chief Honor God, Follow Christ and Serve Humanity. It’s profound isn’t it? I don’t think we think about it enough. That message gets pounded into our innocent, unassuming skulls from day one and yet by the time we are seniors, those words are sometimes still just words to us. We are taught to be Christ-like in our endeavors not simply because many of us ought to as Christians, but because it is a great way to live in harmony with each other. As such, it is important to realize that embodying that Christ-like mission involves taking bold steps to eliminate the Pinecone Curtain from the equation for good.
For me as a non-Christian, I have tended to gravitate toward the last part of the phrase, “serve humanity” when I consider how best to make an impact that means something. Above all, I find that resource allocation aside from time becomes the most adequate form of giving back I am aware of. As such, after gaining experience in some of the underpinnings of ASWU, I propose the somewhat radical notion that we devote almost all $493,925 in the ASWU budget to charitable functions here in Spokane and beyond.
The ASWU budget funds everything from clubs to concerts to my salary. If we were to look through the line items, we would see a lot of fluffy expenditures (some more fluffy than others) that Whitworth and us as students could most certainly live without and would probably be better without. Allow me to break it down as follows:
Club funding on campus totaled to $13,596 for the last academic year. Salaries for ASWU student workers and ASWU administrators along with operations for everything from coordinators to executives to dorms to Whitworthian total $480,329. That’s a lot of money put into things we could mostly live without. Now, this is not to say that ASWU does not do a lot of great things or that the people involved within do not have good intentions for the funds they have to deal with. I just think there are better ways to utilize resources available to promote the mission of the university.
For club funding, I would propose we cut all funding for clubs except for clubs such as En Christo who largely deal with charitable giving anyway. In addition, I propose we cut all student salaries ($136,575) for ASWU positions and all operating costs for media as well as executive, coordinator and dorm operations. Many will argue with me about the need for such a practice, but I once again draw back on an appeal to helping the least of these in our Spokane community.
For an example of how such a system would be able to function, I turn to the example of The Whitworthian. Without ASWU funding, we would still be able to exist and publish. The revenue we gain from advertising would allow us to support functions such as our media conference trip as well as any contest entry fees we need to stay current on. We would lose the funding we needed to print our issue week-to-week, but with the advent of online capabilities, we would have no problem continuing to put out a consistent product.
In the case of clubs, each would be forced to fundraise the money they need in order to continue some of the functions they desire. However, it is important to note that there is no club or organization on campus currently funded under ASWU that would lose the ability to continue functioning under my proposed system.
ASWU would in effect become a charitable foundation run by students of the university who work as volunteers and manage the near-$500,000 budget as it is distributed in various charitable efforts around campus. The idea may seem radical in its entirety; however, when considering the mission of the university as well as the personal missions so many Whitworth students should try to be living out, finding constructive ways to utilize the massive ASWU budget aside from the ways we use it now may be the best way to finally serve humanity and in effect burn the Pinecone Curtain to the ground.