Resident Activity Fee goes mostly to programs, RSA training

By Brian Benson

As one of two student-controlled fees tacked on to students’s bills, the Resident Activity Fee (RAF) has paid for activities from the Amazing Husky Hunt to a skydiving trip attended mostly by members of the Resident Student Association (RSA). This fee, less publicized than its cousin, the Student Activities Fee (SAF), is controlled by RSA, and is paid by all undergraduates who live on campus.

While both fees are paid by students for student activities, the associations in charge of each fee have differing methods of allocating funds.

The Student Government Association (SGA) has a committee to allot the SAF to student groups who request the funds. The Budget Review Committee (BRC) has detailed rules and open meetings, and all student groups can apply for the funds.

RSA’s process is more informal, with fewer rules and more discretion by the RSA General Council as to which events they want to support and fund.

SGA Vice President for Financial Affairs Chris Kelly said the looser structure of RSA and a different constituency make the two fees very different.

“I think they’re both designed to fit different purposes,” he said. “The SAF is designed for the entire student body while the RAF is aimed at residents. I think based on the structure of RSA, there’s a lot of give and take.”

RSA Vice President for Finance Christina O’Sullivan said the council tries to use the money to benefit the greatest number of residents.

O’Sullivan, who chairs the finance committee, said the committee works to ensure fairness in allocating money to residence hall councils.

“We mediate because there are so many hall councils needing funds,” she said.

RSA President Darren Conine said the group also provides RAF money to other student groups for numerous co-sponsored programs.

“We want to make sure the programs students want to do get done. We co-sponsor as much as we can,” he said, adding a recent co-sponsorship was with the Husky Energy Action Team’s “Do It in the Dark” campaign.

However, Kelly said the current structure of RSA leaves room for misuse.

“I think something they could work on is accountability,” he said. “It looks from an outsider’s perspective that there’s a lot of opportunity for fraud. I know the vice presidents work hard to make sure there isn’t waste or fraud but there’s still the availability [for such actions].”

By the numbers

The RAF, which will remain at its current rate of $29 per semester and $14 per summer session for the next school year, is divided by RSA into several funds:

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