New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Opinion: The student government should spend its money better

Last year’s student government spending shows a misunderstanding of student needs. There are better uses for our tuition dollars.

For an organization that is unfamiliar to much of the student body, our student government gets a lot of money — last year, the Student Government Assembly had an operating budget of around $524,000. I would have hoped the student government would put most of the funds toward initiatives that make a tangible impact on campus and improve the experience of going to NYU.

However, when WSN published a breakdown of the student government’s spending from last year, I noticed that the majority of the money went to frivolous activities and celebrations. Ultimately, the misuse of our tuition dollars left me feeling confused and disappointed.

The student government spent the largest portion of its operating budget — nearly $300,000 — on programming for Violet 100, an annual spirit week that happens 100 days before graduation. However, students have to pay to attend the most enticing events during Violet 100, like the Violet Ball and the Violet 100 Concert, in addition to the tuition dollars we already spent to fund the SGA. Tickets to other highlighted events, like the Inter-Residential Hall Council’s Moonlight Ball, cost $40

It feels pointless for the student government to spend so much money on these events if students are paying out-of-pocket to attend them anyway. That funding could go toward smaller-but-free events, or even merit-based scholarships, which NYU notably lacks.

It’s also disappointing to see just how much money the SGA spent on itself last year. Of course, it is important that student government officers receive stipends for their work, but the $11,706 spent on retreats and $19,000 banquet feel irresponsible given the lack of tangible results we’ve seen from the organization this year. According to budget documents obtained by WSN, the projected cost of the banquet was only $7,500 — that’s around $11,000 extra spent on a celebration that could’ve gone to a useful initiative.

The SGA also plans on using a significant portion of this year’s budget on Project 61, which is meant to raise awareness of the student government among students across NYU’s campuses. However, this feels ironic — if the SGA put that money toward initiatives that students actually need, awareness of its existence would happen organically. 

The student government could also have given more money to the Swipe it Forward program after the university restricted its use to only once a week. The program is invaluable for food-insecure students, and allocating more money toward it would have been a great way to both raise awareness of the student government and get results for an important, tangible cause. Although the SGA attempted to work with NYU Dining to make this happen, it said the resulting program would be too similar to the Courtesy Meals initiative the university already offers. This feels like an empty excuse — support for any program aimed at alleviating food insecurity will help students in need, similarity to other initiatives shouldn’t matter. 

The student government does have some exciting plans for this year, like hosting blood and swab drives and potentially providing scholarships. However, after seeing the budget breakdown from last year, I’m skeptical that these goals will realistically come to fruition. It seems as though the SGA has been handed an opportunity to meaningfully improve students’ lives through its budget; it owes it to the student body to amend the disconnect between its spending and student needs.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact the Naisha Roy at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Naisha Roy
Naisha Roy, Editor-at-Large
Naisha Roy is a second-year studying journalism and Spanish & Linguistics. She loves covering topics like immigration issues and NYU policies. In her free time, she's probably doing the daily crossword or cooking while listening to Taylor Swift. She loves spending her weekends finding cheap food spots around the city with her four best friends. You can reach out to her on Instagram @naisharoy9 if you ever need to rant about how AP Style doesn't use the Oxford Comma.
Manasa Gudavalli
Manasa Gudavalli, Editor-in-Chief
Manasa Gudavalli is a super senior studying a super strange combination of psychology, mathematics, journalism, and chemistry. When they are not editing the Washington Square News, they are probably reading Freud, watching college football, or developing film photos. You can find them on Instagram @manasa.gudavalli and

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