At the ASCIT-Dropping Party last Thursday, many students told me that they did not feel they got their money's worth for the $60 in dues that they pay each year. Something seemed wrong to me in the attitude of being a customer of ASCIT, where getting your money's worth is the main priority. So, I thought I'd share what ASCIT dues mean to me:
ASCIT dues are a $60 fee for membership in the Associated Students of Caltech. Being an ASCIT member is a showing of solidarity among students and a pledge to stand together for common undergraduate goals. The money is an integral part of that pledge. Except for the ASCIT Teaching Awards, every cent of ASCIT dues goes towards student activities. Whether it is clubs, publications, social events, or support for committees, ASCIT spends its money on things that students do.
The point of pooling all our money and redistributing it is to provide a way of working together to maximize the happiness of the student body. The Institute provides money for specific sports, art and music programs, but there are many things that students do that Caltech does not fund. A literary magazine, an ultimate Frisbee team, a DVD library, a formal dinner and dance, interhouse parties, a capella groups, the Board of Control, a quiz bowl team - these are the things that we pay ASCIT dues for. Although you might be perfectly happy with what Caltech provides you, some people want to do other things that could cost them money, and anything you don't get back out of your dues is simply a donation to improve the lives of those other students. Caltech takes more than $27,000 from you each year to create the kind of school environment that the administration wants. Is it so much to ask that $60 of your money goes toward doing what students want?