Opt-in fees help student media

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As someone who works in student media, funding is important for what we do in our day-to-day operations. Without funding, a lot of essential tasks like even printing our paper, which may seem miniscule to the average student, become almost impossible.

The Student Choice Initiative rolled out by the government of Ontario affects how students choose to pay “non-essential” fees to their university.

Services like emergency response teams, food banks and foot patrol walking services are classified as essential and are not affected, but other programming will take a hit.

At Laurier, the highest opt-out rate for Students’ Union services was 21 per cent, meaning that 79 per cent of students still chose to pay the fees for those services even when they didn’t have to.

Laurier has even been looking at programming fees for years, with an opt-out for LSPRIG happening a few years ago. The problem with opting out is obvious.

People are losing funding. Those who opt-out have valid points, that if they aren’t using services, they shouldn’t have to spend their money. Completely understandable, university is expensive and quite literally every dollar counts. Once you get out of first year and no longer have to pay for a terrible food plan or thousands for a gross residence room, it’s your first real glimpse at freedom.

My argument? You should be using these services. Laurier is the number one school in student satisfaction for a reason. Not paying a student levy because you don’t see yourself ever being involved in clubs is the worst mindset to have at a school like this. Take it from someone who spent their first two years alone in isolation, joining clubs was the best thing I ever did.

It isn’t just about joining clubs, or funding student media so someone like me has the opportunity to write this article and get my first crack at the journalism world. Laurier has opportunities for every single program, there is something for everyone under FOSSA, AUS, FOMSA or LazSoc. Regardless of the major you’re enrolled in Laurier wants to give people the opportunity to partake in their passions outside the classroom.

Not paying a student levy because you don’t see yourself ever being involved in clubs is the worst mindset to have at a school like this. Take it from someone who spent their first two years alone in isolation, joining clubs was the best thing I ever did.

Beyond academics, Laurier’s students’ union also provides additional clubs for interests, hobbies or cultures, so students can cement themselves deeper into what Laurier is and ensure that there is a place for everyone to thrive.

The argument isn’t that you should be paying to fund someone else’s future, but your own. While you’re in your final four years before the real world starts to hit, you should be taking all the opportunities available to enhance your resume and get your foot in the door for whatever your next adventure is, whether it be graduate school or getting a job straight out of university.

With changes to OSAP funding, it seems like the student choice initiative was an answer to getting some of your money back that the Ontario government took away. However, that $30 you save by opting out of a student media fee not only is diminishing the objective journalism on your campus or a club about healthy living, it’s diminishing your chance to make your four years at Laurier feel more like home.

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