Every year the UC Lit, University College’s student government, organizes a huge formal to celebrate its “community, history, and friendships.” Fireball is a way for students to escape the stress of university and have a good time, and the extravagant ticket promises just that: a wonderfully memorable night with live bands, a DJ, an impersonator, chocolate fountains, giveaways—the list goes on. I’m glad to hear that the UC governing body is interested in engaging the students in social events, but I strongly believe that the frivolous spending involved is unnecessary.

As students, we pay not only for courses but also for the services offered on campus, including those provided by our student governments. The most recent budget for Fireball states that the dance will cost $49,000 (an estimate likely to increase). This amount includes nearly $900 for printing tickets, $500 for an ice sculpture, and $1,800 for the visiting psychics. Aside from ticket sale revenues, 33 per cent of Fireball’s expenses are from UC Lit funds—money coming from our student fees. So, although every UC student pays for Fireball, not all can attend and benefit from it. My question is whether this gross over-expenditure is necessary for a “good time,” especially when only a minority can actually take advantage of it?

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When I inquired about the Lit’s budget last year, I was told by an executive member that the Lit’s money is from the students, and for the students. Yet I have never been asked, in my two years living at UC, how I wish for my money to be spent.

Well, UC, let me tell you:

An alternative allocation of the Lit budget could be to put towards a more meaningful investment that every UC student has the chance to experience.

The UC Lit’s goal is to create a student community in which everyone can take part. I believe the budget should focus more on enhancing student involvement at UC. For example, the Lit currently helps fund the UC Outreach Commission, which provides students with the opportunity to give back to charitable organizations in Toronto. Although I am not in any way associated with the commission, I believe that this is a great concept and can be expanded even more to include UC student groups. With a larger budget, the UCOC could contribute to helping our student clubs organize additional events on campus to engage the student body. The Lit’s investment in student clubs could not only help these groups reach their goals, but also enhance the student experience through further involvement with the groups’ initiatives.

There are many other ways in which this money could be better spent, but I think that it is not up to me to make the choice, but rather the whole student body. The task for the UC Lit student representatives is to get out there and see what the students really want. They should connect with all of us students to get our input as to how we want our money spent.

I do not think that the UC Lit money is being used to its fullest potential to enhance the student experience in a meaningful way, evident with the overspending on Fireball. A five-hour event that costs more than many Canadians make in a year is not the right way to go.