Everything you need to know about your Student Improvement Fund
Abdul Ali CONTRIBUTOR
Photo: New furniture and blinds in Brennan Lounge and Student Club Offices, an initiative executed directly by the Student Improvement Fund (USMC).
In the spring of 2000, the St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU) proposed a “Student Improvement Levy,” introducing a levy paid by all St. Mike’s students to fund projects that “enhance and improve the overall student experience.”
All students pay an ancillary fee of $15 each semester to fund projects — which come into being through a process of application, review, approval, and finally execution.
A prospective project begins with applications from students. The Student Improvement Fund Committee — equally composed of students and administrators — then examines applications ensuring that applications satisfy the levy guidelines and brings approved projects into being.
Although this may not be common knowledge, all USMC students have paid for and enjoyed the projects executed by the Student Improvement Fund. If you’ve ever used the Brennan Lounge furniture to eat lunch or partake in the occasional gossip, then you’ve enjoyed an initiative directly funded by the Student Improvement Fund.
Or, alternatively, when you desperately needed to charge your phone and you happened to run to a charging station in Brennan Lounge or the Kelly Café, then you have once again used a past-project of the Fund.
Past projects including the glass-walled study cubicle in Brennan, furniture in Kelly Cafe, and new group study desks are some of the enhancements executed through the Student Improvement Fund.
The advantages of the levy are indisputably visible, but where the committee lacks clarity is in informing students of the ongoing projects and their benefits.
“The students should be aware of all the projects that are being done using the funds they have provided. And USMC should try to keep the students updated and aware of how they can benefit from such projects,” said Omar Elbardisy a first-year student at St. Mike’s. He further added that he has never heard of the Student Improvement Fund before.
“I have not heard of the Student Improvement Fund before this email,” said Victoria Terech, another first-year student at St. Mike’s. Consequently, there is a dire need for better communication between the student body and USMC regarding the Student Improvement Fund.
Looking to the future, the Student Improvement Fund looks to add more infrastructural features to St. Mike’s for an overall lift in student experience.
The Student Improvement Fund is an effective avenue for a collective approach to developing the quality of the St. Mike’s student experience. An emphasis on its communication with the students will, in prospect, allow for an informed and extensively participating student body.
To submit a project, complete this form.
The website notes that “the approval of your project idea cannot be guaranteed. Your application may be rejected or you may receive a request to modify it in a way that will better support the [USMC] community.”
Some other past projects include: the glass-walled Brennan Lounge study cubicle, the wellness studio flooring and mirrors, the water fountains and filling stations in Brennan Lounge and Kelly Cafe, the half-basketball court at base of Elmsley Boiler Plant, upgrades and improvements to the USMC weight room (in the bottom of Alumni Hall), the student lockers in Brennan Hall, the expanded Bulletin Boards in Brennan Lounge, and new furniture in Kelly Library.