Hey! Guess what. Give up? Okay, we’ll tell you. Every semester you pay around ninety dollars in Student Activity Fees. We say “around ninety dollars” because, in truth, the amount is usually raised a little every semester. To be precise, all undergraduates here at Stony Brook will pay $94.25 in Student Activity Fees for the fall 2008 semester.

Now, we’re not going to use this editorial to rail against the fee and trash the administration. In fact, we love this fee. We wish it were a little higher. Why? Well, that fee, which adds up to millions of dollars in total for the school each year, is what pays for most every student organization on campus. Have you ever attended a club meeting? If so, it was paid for by your Student Activity Fee. Ever go to a club-run event and eaten the free pizza they gave out? Your Student Activity Fee paid for that pizza. Hell, your Student Activity Fee paid for the newspaper you’re reading at this very moment. Each issue of The Stony Brook Press costs thousands of dollars to produce, so we thank you for making what we do possible by paying your Student Activity Fee.

But where are we really going with this? It’s actually quite simple and basic. You all should be taking advantage of your Student Activity Fees. After all, you pay those ninety-something dollars every semester whether you do anything on campus or not. You should join one of the student-funded organizations. You’ll get more value out of the money you pay, and you may even have a little fun while you do it. Or, if you don’t have the time, at least utilize the fee in other ways. Read campus newspapers, watch campus television, go to club organized events (you’ll even get free food that way). You have nothing to lose, and so much to gain.

Every year, during USG elections, we vote on whether or not the Student Activity Fee should be mandatory for all undergrads. Now, seeing as how this fee is so important to student life on campus, you’d think it would be voted mandatory easily every election. However, it’s usually quite close. This past spring, in fact, the election was only decided by 225 votes. Fortunately, “mandatory” won, but on a campus of over 10,000 undergrads, 225 votes is cutting it a bit too close. So just keep that in mind for the next election.

We here at The Stony Brook Press are going to use 32,000 of your collective dollars this year. We’re far from the only club that does so, too. WUSB Radio gets $74,000 and the College Republicans received $27,000. Perhaps you don’t agree with those sorts of figures, or with what one of the many clubs on campus is doing with your money. Well, whether you do or you don’t agree, there’s only one course of action that would really make things better: get involved.

Hey. Guess what. Give up? All right, we’ll tell you again. If you join a club, who knows how far you’ll go. Hell, you may even be one of the students on campus who decides exactly how those thousands of our dollars are being spent every year. And that’s power that no mere $94.25 could ever buy.