OPINION | Student-run groups should consolidate

For a school of approximately 4,000 undergraduate students, Butler University has a vibrant extracurricular student life.

When I first visited Butler’s campus as a prospective student in fall 2010, around 115 student-run organizations exist.

Now there are over 150 student-run organizations, according to the university’s website.

There needs to be a consolidation of student-run groups on campus that focus on identical or similar issues.

Overall, student-run organizations are a good component of Butler’s climate.

However, when separate organizations for a similar cause are present at the same time, changes need to be made.

For instance two similar yet separate groups are Fall Alternative Break and Alternative Spring Break.

Also there are the Earth Charter Butler and Environmental Concerns groups, as well as Colleges Against Cancer and Bulldogs against Breast Cancer.

Each of these groups has the potential to receive  Student Government Association grants, which stem their money from the student body.

While groups like Bulldogs Against Breast Cancer and Colleges Against Cancer may not have the same constitutions or mission statements, they are both addressing a nearly identical issue.

“I know everybody wants to blaze their own trail,” said Laura Spieth, president of Bulldogs Against Breast Cancer. “But I think it would be smart if everybody that wants to start a group that has similar missions to other groups on campus looked into joining a similar group.”

Bulldogs Against Breast Cancer decided to take the independent route when it formed a year and a half ago.

Spieth said that during the formation of the organization, Bulldogs Against Breast Cancer heard suggestions that they join the Colleges Against Cancer group as a subcommittee.

However, Spieth wanted the freedom to choose where the money it raises goes, since Colleges Against Cancer works mainly with the American Cancer Society.

Situations like these show the importance of having multiple groups on campus.

However, with funding, it would be best if some of these groups came together and teamed up to cut down on costs and increase resources.

“We’re planning on doing stuff with Bulldogs Against Breast Cancer for Paint the Campus Purple and Pink Week,” said Kelsey Mulverhill, advocacy chair for Colleges Against Cancer.

“We are co-sponsoring a breast cancer survivor speaker that week;” she said, “and we’re doing tailgates right next to each other.”

The best solution to this issue could come from the organizations themselves.

“The best way for moving forward would be a resolution through the assembly asking the PuLSE Office and Student Affairs to review their guidelines on maintaining student organizations and on becoming a student organization,” Student Government Association President Mike Keller said.

Keller also said that since SGA is made up of representatives of student-run organizations, change coming from the SGA assembly would be change from the bottom up.

Such change would be better than reform from an SGA president, which could be perceived as an overextension of executive power.

This change needs to come soon so student money can be used by student-run organizations as efficiently as possible.

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