The Undergraduate Finance Board discussed the possibility of implementing a fee-free model for student group events at an open forum Thursday. On a fee-free campus, undergraduate students would not have to pay to attend on-campus student group events, according to an email sent by UCS this week to the undergraduate community.
In order to fund a fee-free campus model, UFB plans to approach University administrators about increasing the semesterly student activities fee, which would raise enough money to cover admission to all on-campus student events for undergraduate students, said UFB Chair Amienne Spencer-Blume ’23.
“UFB is committed to funding on-campus student group events” to help remove a financial barrier to access for students, Spencer-Blume added.
UFB Vice Chair Arjun Krishna Chopra ’25 said that he believes students should not have to pay money to attend on-campus events when they already pay $286 yearly for the student activities fee.
The fee-free campus model would not be implemented immediately, Spencer-Blume said. First, UFB wants student group leaders who support the model to sign a petition in favor of fee-free events. UFB will then approach University administrators about increasing the student activities fee.
Chopra added that Brown’s peer institutions, including Swarthmore College, currently have similar campus models. “There are no ‘additional fees’ at Swarthmore,” according to the Swarthmore’s website. Movie nights, laundry and printing services, athletic events and nearly all other activities are included in Swarthmore’s yearly activities fee.
UFB has started reaching out to student groups about the potential change, Spencer-Blume said. UFB has also already funded over 200 events in its efforts to decrease student costs.
Last spring, UFB funded Spring Weekend attendance for students; the concert previously required attendees to pay for tickets, Spencer-Blume and Chopra explained. The board also eliminated student attendance costs for all spring Class Coordinating Board events, including Senior Week, which had previously cost students approximately $250 in total and made the week financially inaccessible for some students on campus, Spencer-Blume said. UFB has also fully funded all club sports this semester, The Herald previously reported.
The meeting then opened up to discussion among community members in attendance, who raised possible concerns about the fee-free model. One student speaker said that selling tickets in public campus spaces serves as advertising for the events and that students are more compelled to attend events when they pay for tickets. Other speakers contested the latter argument, noting that students would attend events regardless of payment.
Aside from discussing the fee-free model, one student at the meeting advocated for free printing services and more printers around campus in general. Spencer-Blume said that UFB plans to discuss the idea of more printers with University administrators in the future.