Student Voice


February 3, 2023




Student government may want to consider being careful when spending money

December 1, 2016

At Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting, an allocation of $2,000 was passed to pay for an artificial holiday tree standing approximately 12 feet tall to be placed in the University Center this semester.

This cost of the tree seems like a bit much, especially when considering some of the alternatives. During the meeting, one student senator pointed out that a similar pre-lit tree could be purchased at Walmart for around $300.

$2,000 is a lot of money that could be spent somewhere else. There seems no logical reason why this tree needs to be purchased from Balsam Hill, a company from northern California, rather than somewhere that might offer a better price. Why not see if any local businesses could provide an artificial tree?

Let’s be clear. We’re excited that Student Senate wants to help campus celebrate the holidays. The tree will absolutely bring a happy holiday spirit to the University Center, and as j-term nears it will undoubtedly increase our excitement about finals being over. It can serve as a friendly reminder that only a few weeks remain before a lot of us can be home with our families. The tree is not the issue here.

The issue is how quick Student Senate can be to spend large amounts of money like this, even when viable alternatives exist. According to the university’s website, Senate gets just over $4 in segregated fees from each student at UWRF this semester. Looking at official enrollment numbers, that’s just over $24,000 alone, and that's just part of the funds that Senate has to spend.

The tree is just one example. We urge Student Senate to think more carefully about how they spend their money. We trust the members of Senate to use our segregated fees and remaining student organization money responsibly. We want to know that Senate has our best interests at heart as students when thousands of dollars are being spent.

Events like the It’s On Us Week of Action are amazing. Why not support the raising of awareness for another cause or give back to the community in some way to add to the holiday spirit? So much good could be done for the cost of one overpriced fake tree.


Me on 14 Dec 2016: Ok, I suppose I should apologize for the hyperbolic nature of my statement about the stadium. It's only $200 if you add together all the sports fees, I hadn't read the fees in a while and just sort of categorized them mentally. And while there is a limited scope on where Student Segregated Fees can be spent, it's still a massive range of different areas. Something like a tree for the UC could likely be worked into the UC's Fee rather than the Student Senate or any other fees.

BadExpenditure/BadLogic on 12 Dec 2016: The fee for the stadium is actually something like $4/semester. Lots of private funds donated to make that happen. The money going to this tree (which IS seriously a colossal waste) is not money that can be spent on things such as academic departments that could use it, as it is derived from a segregated fee. These fees have limited ways in which they can be spent. I won't defend this expenditure, but those who are against it must be more informed on their argument. The student government should be spending money on things that can actually impact students directly such as events or other promotions, and aiding student organizations. There is a long list of poor expenditures that goes back years. I can even remember a 5th or 6th year student tell me when I was a freshman that the student government once spent fee money on championship rings for the track team. Geesh.

Me on 08 Dec 2016: To be HONEST about what is breaking the bank is the culture of constantly using the students' funds to pay for things that really don't contribute to the education of students, but rather are just to competitively drag students in. For instance, the new stadium, how many students are going to use that who are currently attending the university? We all pay something around $200 per semester for its construction, and yet it exists purely to make our university look better to students that aren't even thinking about college yet. Is this tree going to ruin students financially? No, but is it just another log in the massive fire that is universities spending money for cosmetics and not academics? Hell yes.

Al Relbity on 05 Dec 2016: As a student Of course I am concerned about Fiscal Responsibility. However, Are we really at the point where people are offended by a tree? Political Correctness is Killing this Country! Christmas is a National Holiday in this Great country and one the Best Holidays that brings joy to believers and non believers alike. In the grand scheme of things the money spent is Nothing compared to what students pay for Administrative positions at this University and Universities across this country. I like the idea of Fiscal Responsibility, But this Christmas Tree is not breaking the bank and not causing the loads of STUDENT LOAN DEBT. The Media on this campus should be HONEST about what is really Breaking the BANK!

Jin Jin on 01 Dec 2016: Thank you for saying that.I was thinking exactly the same thing found that was a little high for a fake tree it's sad that they're supposed to just following this about University of River Falls concern for the budget for next year begin the legislation for money I know a number of departments right there in that desperately could use that money. I was surprised to see that they were buying a fake plastic tree when it's an energy sustainable school I thought maybe a local farmer would be happy to donate a tree.