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  • Alan Cohen, Staff Writer

ASWU in positive financial situation ahead of 2024–25 school year

Art by Lucy Devlaeminck.

Due to a rise in students enrolled at Willamette and unused funds from past years, the Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU) is now in a positive financial position to fund student-led initiatives and affiliated organizations in future years. 

Milo Greenberg (‘24) is the treasurer of ASWU for the 2023-2024 school year. He said that the current financial situation of ASWU this school year is positive largely due to the significant increase in the number of students enrolled in recent years, as ASWU’s funding comes from student activity fees. 

The student activity fee applies to all full-time students and is currently set at $134 per semester. As approved by a 2022 resolution, it increases by $4 each academic year and can vary based on the number of enrolled students. Nonetheless, most liberal arts universities in Oregon have higher student fees, such as the University of Portland’s at $150 per semester or Reed’s and Linfield’s at $155. 

Another reason for the positive financial situation of ASWU is a surplus of unused funds. “Because of COVID, ASWU has not spent as much money as it might otherwise have, and there has been a lot of money accumulating,” Greenberg said. 

In years where there is a significant surplus of funds, a percentage of those funds are saved and invested in an endowment fund so they can grow in value, but ASWU has yet to decide how much money will be invested at the end of this school year. Greenberg added that an important factor to consider for that decision is the number of students enrolled in the upcoming class of 2028, which is currently unknown. 

A visible effect of ASWU’s positive financial situation this year has come in the form of campus improvement projects and other initiatives. For instance, with the increased popularity of organizations dedicated to dance and performative art, ASWU recently funded the costs of installing a large mirror in the former Greek life building 880 Mill for these clubs to perform. ASWU also recently funded the installation of an accessible automatic door button in Smullin Hall. In addition, several new clubs and organizations like the Financial Literacy Club and the Delta Alpha Pi honor society have been affiliated this year and are now eligible to receive ASWU funding. 

Although this year’s financial situation is a good sign for the student body and ASWU-affiliated clubs, Greenberg said that ASWU hopes to avoid the precedent of being overly generous to student organizations in years when there is a surplus of funds, as this may have the potential to create an unrealistic standard that will be hard to meet in future years. 

Treasurer Greenberg’s term ends this semester, and Sophia “Stevie” Bergstrom (‘26), who currently serves the role of press secretary, will serve as next year’s treasurer. In an email, she said that she appreciates Greenberg’s hard work this year and will continue to “collaborate on ways to make things as accessible and easily understandable as we can.”

“I'm also excited to continue the work we've been trying to do this year in getting awareness around what ASWU is and what we can do for the students,” Bergstrom concluded in the email.

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