For the past few days, TAMS students have been in a frenzy regarding the new changes to the club system. Last night, Kevin Roden called a meeting for all juniors to discuss these new policies.
Roden emphasized that student activities should be progressive in order to mirror the innovative academic system at TAMS. The entrepreneurial spirit of the student body lends itself to allowing all student organizations to stand on equal ground when receiving funding. Traditionally, a club’s budget was determined by the club’s track record the previous year. However, Roden asserted, frequently a club’s innovative year would be followed by a static one. In that case, all of the funding that club received would be wasted and not used to its full potential.
In the new system, however, any student or group of students could meet, put on events, start a club, reserve rooms and vans, advertise to students, and more controversially, have access to a pot of funds. Potential clubs would pitch their idea to a panel and would be asked questions regarding the specific idea and its implementation. After analyzing the idea and its possible affect on the TAMS community, the board would either veto the proposal or grant the money. Track records would be very important in this system; well-established clubs would have an easier time gaining funding, at least in the beginning. Additionally, students who have good track records of their ideas being successes would be granted money more easily as well.
According to Roden, there are many benefits to the new system. From a monetary standpoint, anyone in the TAMS student body would have easier access to funds. From a community perspective, the implementation of the system would create a better environment for new programs, events, and opportunities.
However, even when Roden discussed all of the potential advantages to the new system, many still dissatisfied students hotly debated his points. One big concern that kept reemerging was that money would run out in the beginning, leaving major clubs without funds for annual events that occur later in the year like AID the Cause or Prom. However, Roden asserted that there would be an infrastructure in place in which some funds could be secured in the beginning of the year for these kinds of activities.
Most students had specific concerns. According to Joanne Shang, a new Teach and Learn exec, “I think [Roden] just wants a bunch of little startups, which focuses on a specific type of club, not the already established clubs.”
As Laura Pang, the new Computer Science Club president, says, “TAMS should promote nonprofits but not be the source of the money. Students shouldn’t be able to pitch money just so their money can be exported somewhere else.”
However, other students, such as Terrance Alexander and Steven Jacob, feel benefitted by the new system. Together, they recently began a small startup. According to Jacob, “There are so many organizations that use their money really quickly, but we need some too. Our organization is trying to obtain sample rape kits to send to third world countries. This new system would allow us to gain funds to really start working.”
Many more students had opinions on the subject as well as ideas that hybridize the current and proposed systems. Roden emphasized that he would love to hear more of the community’s voice on this topic. He can be reached at email@example.com. However, he asserts he would like to hear complaints along with constructive criticism as to how to improve the system, not just rants. And as always, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below also.